(a) Only the rates of cable systems that are not subject to effective competition may be regulated.
(b) A cable system is subject to effective competition when any one of the following conditions is met:
(1) Fewer than 30 percent of the households in its franchise area subscribe to the cable service of a cable system.
(2) The franchise area is:
(i) Served by at least two unaffiliated multichannel video programming distributors each of which offers comparable programming to at least 50 percent of the households in the franchise area; and
(ii) the number of households subscribing to multichannel video programming other than the largest multichannel video programming distributor exceeds 15 percent of the households in the franchise area.
(3) A multichannel video programming distributor, operated by the franchising authority for that franchise area, offers video programming to at least 50 percent of the households in the franchise area.
(4) A local exchange carrier or its affiliate (or any multichannel video programming distributor using the facilities of such carrier or its affiliate) offers video programming services directly to subscribers by any means (other than direct-to-home satellite services) in the franchise area of an unaffiliated cable operator which is providing cable service in that franchise area, but only if the video programming services so offered in that area are comparable to the video programming services provided by the unaffiliated cable operator in that area.
(c) For purposes of paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(3) of this section, each separately billed or billable customer will count as a household subscribing to or being offered video programming services, with the exception of multiple dwelling buildings billed as a single customer. Individual units of multiple dwelling buildings will count as separate households. The term “households” shall not include those dwellings that are used solely for seasonal, occasional, or recreational use.
(d) A multichannel video program distributor, for purposes of this section, is an entity such as, but not limited to, a cable operator, a BRS/EBS provider, a direct broadcast satellite service, a television receive-only satellite program distributor, a video dialtone service provider, or a satellite master antenna television service provider that makes available for purchase, by subscribers or customers, multiple channels of video programming.
(e) Service of a multichannel video programming distributor will be deemed offered:
(1) When the multichannel video programming distributor is physically able to deliver service to potential subscribers, with the addition of no or only minimal additional investment by the distributor, in order for an individual subscriber to receive service; and
(2) When no regulatory, technical or other impediments to households taking service exist, and potential subscribers in the franchise area are reasonably aware that they may purchase the services of the multichannel video programming distributor.
(f) For purposes of determining the number of households subscribing to the services of a multichannel video programming distributor other than the largest multichannel video programming distributor, under paragraph (b)(2)(ii) of this section, the number of subscribers of all multichannel video programming distributors that offer service in the franchise area will be aggregated.
(g) In order to offer comparable programming as that term is used in this section, a competing multichannel video programming distributor must offer at least 12 channels of video programming, including at least one channel of nonbroadcast service programming.
(h) For purposes of paragraph (b)(2) of this section, entities are affiliated if either entity has an attributable interest in the other or if a third party has an attributable interest in both entities. Attributable interest shall be defined by reference to the criteria set forth in Notes 1 through 5 to § 76.501.
(i) For purposes of paragraph (b)(4) of this section, entities are affiliated if either entity has an attributable interest in the other or if a third party has an attributable interest in both entities. Attributable interest shall be defined as follows:
(1) A 10% partnership or voting equity interest in a corporation will be cognizable.
(2) Subject to paragraph (i)(3), a limited partnership interest of 10% or more shall be attributed to a limited partner unless that partner is not materially involved, directly or indirectly, in the management or operation of the media-related activities of the partnership and the relevant entity so certifies. An interest in a Limited Liability Company (“LLC”) or Registered Limited Liability Partnership (“RLLP”) shall be attributed to the interest holder unless that interest holder is not materially involved, directly or indirectly, in the management or operation of the media-related activities of the partnership and the relevant entity so certifies. Certifications must be made pursuant to the guidelines set forth in Note 2(f) to § 76.501.
(3) Notwithstanding paragraph (i)(2), the holder of an equity or debt interest or interests in an entity covered by this rule shall have that interest attributed if the equity (including all stockholdings, whether voting or nonvoting, common or preferred, and partnership interests) and debt interest or interests, in the aggregate, exceed 33 percent of the total asset value (all equity plus all debt) of that entity.
(4) Discrete ownership interests held by the same individual or entity will be aggregated in determining whether or not an interest is cognizable under this section. An individual or entity will be deemed to have a cognizable investment if the sum of the interests other than those held by or through “passive investors” is equal to or exceeds 10%.
[58 FR 29753, May 21, 1993, as amended at 59 FR 17972, Apr. 15, 1994; 61 FR 18978, Apr. 30, 1996; 62 FR 6495, Feb. 12, 1997; 64 FR 35950, July 2, 1999; 64 FR 67196, Dec. 1, 1999; 69 FR 72046, Dec. 10, 2004]