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S. 2172 (97th): Cable Telecommunications Act of 1982

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.


8/10/1982--Reported to Senate amended. (Reported to Senate from the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation with amendment, S. Rept. 97-518) Cable Telecommunications Act of 1982 - Amends the Communications Act of 1934 to set forth provisions governing cable telecommunications. Grants the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) jurisdiction over broadband telecommunications in accordance with this Act and other applicable laws. Grants State and local governments the authority to award cable franchises within their jurisdictions in accordance with this Act. Prohibits any Federal agency from prohibiting any person from owning cable systems by reason of that person's ownership of other media interests. Excludes from such prohibition: (1) regulation by the Federal antitrust laws; (2) FCC regulation of foreign persons to ensure reciprocal market access for U.S. cable enterprises in foreign markets; and (3) the prohibition against State or local agencies acquiring an ownership interest in a cable system at less than fair market value or controlling a cable system's programming. Prohibits any State or local agency from prohibiting any person from owning cable systems by reason of that person's ownership of other media interests. Requires cable systems with 20 or more television broadcast channels to set aside: (1) ten percent of such channels for use by public, educational, and governmental channel programmers; and (2) ten percent of such channels for use by other channel programmers. Requires the channels to be set aside until the FCC determines that there are reasonably available alternatives for providing programming service in a particular geographic area or market. Sets forth the criteria for determining whether there are reasonably available alternatives in the relevant area or market. Authorizes the franchisor to establish rules for the use of the channels set aside for use by public, educational, and governmental channel programmers. Authorizes the cable system operator to establish rules for the use of the channels set aside for use by other channel programmers. Authorizes the cable system operator to combine public, educational, governmental, and other channel programming on one or more channels until there is a demand for each channel full time for its designated use. Declares that it is not necessary to modify a cable franchise agreement which was made before March 4, 1982, and which sets aside more than ten percent of its channels for public, educational, governmental, and other channel programming. Authorizes each State or local government, agency, or franchising authority to fix the rates charged for basic cable services. Prohibits Federal, State, or local regulation of the provision of or nature of: (1) cable services offered over a cable system; and (2) telecommunications facilities or services, other than telephone service, offered by or over a cable system. Directs the FCC to establish a reasonable ceiling for the franchise fees charged by a State or local government, agency, or franchising authority. Requires the ceilings to permit only the recovery of the cost of regulating the cable system. Authorizes the FCC to waive the ceilings if the reasonable cost of regulation exceeds the ceiling and the waiver will not interfere with Federal policies. Requires franchisors to permit renewal or extension of a cable system operator's franchise if: (1) the operator has substantially complied with the material terms of such franchise; (2) the operator's qualifications have not materially changed; and (3) the services and facilities provided by the operator meet the community needs. Prohibits unauthorized interception or receipt of broadband telecommunications. Prohibits disclosure of any personally identifiable information with respect to the cable subscriber or to the services provided the subscriber, except pursuant to court order or prior written consent of the subscriber. Authorizes criminal and civil penalties for violations of the cable subscriber's privacy. Prohibits any cable operator, channel programmer, or originator of broadband telecommunications from using the cable system to collect personnally identifiable information on a cable subscriber without the written consent of the subscriber. Permits the collection of such information solely for billing purposes or for monitoring unauthorized receptions of cable telecommunications. Requires such information to be destroyed when it is no longer used for such purposes. Prohibits the disclosure of such information without the consent of the subscriber or a court order authorizing such disclosure. Requires cable operators to notify subscribers of their rights under the privacy provisions of this Act. Requires each subscriber to have access to all of their personally identifiable information collected and maintained by a cable operator, channel programmer, or originator of broadband telecommunications. Authorizes civil damages for violations of these privacy provisions. States that cable operators have no liability for programs on public, educational, governmental, or leased channels or for programs originated by a channel programmer that is not affiliated with the cable system operator. Directs the FCC to encourage the introduction of new and additional services by new applicants, existing licensees, or other persons. Creates a presumption that new services are in the public interest if the FCC finds that such services are technically feasible without causing significant technical degradation to or interference with radio transmissions by other licensees. Sets forth the manner of filing petitions or applications for providing new services.