FCC closes loophole in cable program access rules

January 20, 2010

(AP) -- Federal regulators have closed a wrinkle that has allowed cable TV operators to withhold sporting events and other popular programming that they own from satellite companies and other rivals.

The voted 4-to-1 on Wednesday to eliminate the so-called "terrestrial loophole" in a 1992 federal cable law.

That loophole has enabled companies such as Corp., Cox Communications Inc. and Cablevision Systems Corp. to circumvent access requirements in the law by distributing programming over land-based rather than satellite connections.

Cable companies have been able to deny programming to competitors such as DirecTV Inc., Echostar Corp.'s Dish Network, AT&T Inc.'s U-Verse video service and Verizon Communications Inc.'s FiOS video service.

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