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2013 Cable Programming Rates, Services And Equipment Survey

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Released: April 9, 2013

Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-671

Before the

Federal Communications Commission

Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of
)
)

Implementation of Section 3 of the Cable
)
Television Consumer Protection and Competition
)
MM Docket No. 92-266
Act of 1992
)
)

Statistical Report on Average Rates for Basic
)
Service, Cable Programming Service, and
)
Equipment
)

ORDER

Adopted: April 9, 2013

Released: April 9, 2013

Responses Due: May 31, 2013

By the Chief, Media Bureau:

I.

INTRODUCTION

1.
Section 623(k) of the Communications Act, as amended by the Cable Television
Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992 (“1992 Cable Act”),1 requires the Commission to
publish annually a statistical report on average rates for basic cable service, cable programming service,
and equipment.2 The Act also requires the Commission to compare the average rates of cable operators
found to be subject to effective competition with those of operators not subject to effective competition.3
2.
To implement the requirements of Section 623(k), the Commission is directing certain
cable operators to respond to a price survey questionnaire designed to solicit information concerning rates

1 Section 623(k) was adopted as Section 3(k) of the 1992 Cable Act, Pub. L. No. 102-385, 106 Stat. 1460, codified
at 47 U.S.C. § 543(k).
2 47 U.S.C. § 543(k). The 1992 Cable Act defines basic cable service as that tier of service that includes the
retransmission of local television broadcast signals. See 47 U.S.C. § 543(b)(7). Cable programming service is
defined as any video programming other than (A) video programming carried on the basic service tier, and (B) video
programming offered on a per channel or per program basis. See 47 U.S.C. § 543(k)(1)(2). Equipment refers to a
converter box, remote control, and other equipment necessary to access programming. See 47 U.S.C. § 543(b)(3).
3 Effective competition exists where the Commission has found that a multi-channel video programming distributor
(“MVPD”) meets one of four tests within its franchise area: (1) fewer than 30% of households subscribe to the
service of the cable system (the “low penetration test”); (2) at least two MVPDs serve 50% or more of households
and at least 15% of those households take service other than from the largest MVPD (the “overbuild test”); (3) a
municipal MVPD offers service to at least 50% of households (the “municipal test”); (4) a local exchange carrier
(“LEC”) or its affiliate (or any MVPD using the facilities of the LEC or its affiliate) offers video programming
service (other than direct broadcast satellite service) comparable to the service of an unaffiliated MVPD (the “LEC
test”). See 47 U.S.C. § 543(k)(1)(1)(A-D).

Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-671

for basic service, cable programming service, and equipment used to receive such services. Instructions
for completing the questionnaire are attached to this Order as Appendix B. The cable operators selected
for our sample must complete and file the questionnaire no later than May 31, 2013.
3.
The survey asks questions about an operator’s monthly charge for basic service and
expanded basic service as of two dates: January 1, 2012, and January 1, 2013. In addition, the survey
requests information on other factors such as the monthly charge for equipment and the number of
subscribers, as well as information concerning the number of channels offered on each level of service,
the availability of advanced services such as Internet access, the availability of a “family tier” of service,
and channel lineups.4
4.
Our survey sample includes a random sample of cable operators serving communities
where the Commission has granted a petition for effective competition, and a random sample of operators
serving other communities nationwide. A completed questionnaire is required for each community
selected in our sample. If more than one community is selected from any cable system, the cable operator
should complete a separate questionnaire for each community unit identification (“CUID”) number
selected.
5.
Data submitted in response to this survey will be made available to the public in
aggregate form as averages representing segments of the industry. Survey data also may be subject to
requests for public release filed pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). Nothing in this
Order shall be construed as a resolution on the merits of a FOIA request. If individual respondents wish
to request confidential treatment of any data provided in connection with this survey, in accordance with
Sections 0.457 and 0.459 of the Commission’s rules,5 they should request such confidentiality in writing
and identify clearly the specific information they wish to protect. They also should provide, as required
by the rules, a complete explanation of why such treatment is appropriate. If a respondent submits a
request for confidentiality, the Bureau will review it and make a determination. The Bureau may dispose
of multiple requests for confidentiality in a single decision. Requests for confidentiality should be sent to
the cable price survey team in an e-mail addressed to cablesurvey@fcc.gov. If a respondent does not
submit a request for confidentiality, the Commission may release the respondent’s data, including
identifying information.
6.
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED pursuant to Section 623(k) of the Communications Act of
1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. § 543(k), and Section 4(i) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended,
47 U.S.C. § 154(i), that cable operators subject to the price survey requirement described herein shall
complete and file the price survey questionnaire no later than May 31, 2013.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
William T. Lake
Chief, Media Bureau

4 We are mindful of the need to limit administrative burdens associated with this price survey. We anticipate that
the burdens faced by responding cable operators should be limited, as the information requested is of the type that
should be readily available to operators. Suggestions for reducing the burden may be sent to the Commission. For
further information, see the notice contained in Appendix A of this Order regarding the Privacy Act and Paperwork
Reduction Act.
5 47 C.F.R. §§ 0.457, 0.459.
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DA 13-671

APPENDIX A

2013 Cable Industry Price Survey

FCC NOTICE TO INDIVIDUALS REQUIRED BY THE PRIVACY ACT AND

THE PAPERWORK REDUCTION ACT

The solicitation of information in this survey form is authorized by Section 623(k) of the
Communications Act, as amended. The Commission will use the information collected on this form to
compare prices charged for basic cable service, cable programming service, and equipment by cable
operators that are found to be subject to effective competition with those not subject to effective
competition. This form has been approved by the Office of Management and Budget, under OMB control
number 3060-0647 (expiration date: August 31, 2013).
The public reporting burden for this information collection is estimated to average 6.0 hours per
response, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and
entering the data needed, and completing and reviewing the questionnaire. Suggestions for reducing the
burden may be sent to the Commission in an e-mail addressed to cablesurvey@fcc.gov with “Suggestions
for Reducing Burden” in the “subject” line. Alternatively, send comments regarding this burden estimate
or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing the burden, to the
Records Management Division, Federal Communications Commission, Washington, D.C. 20554.
The above notice is required by the Privacy Act of 1974, Pub. L. No. 93-579, 88 Stat. 1897,
codified at 5 U.S.C. § 552a(e)(3), and the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Pub. L. No. 104-13, 109
Stat. 163, codified at 44 U.S.C. § 3507.
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Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-671

APPENDIX B

2013 Cable Industry Price Survey

INSTRUCTIONS FOR COMPLETING FCC CABLE INDUSTRY PRICE SURVEY

General Information:

Please read these instructions before completing the survey. In addition, refer to
the questionnaire for guidance on answering specific questions. Special attention to the instructions and
questionnaire is important because it is essential that all operators use the same definition for each
question. Please complete a questionnaire for each CUID listed in the attachment to the letter
accompanying this Order.
The survey questionnaire requests information on the availability and prices charged for certain services
and equipment at the community level. When providing pricing information, respondents should report
the standard, regular retail rate for the type of programming or equipment identified in the question and
should not report prices that are limited-term offers, prices that are available only to new subscribers or
prices that are available only within a portion of the franchise area.
For questions pertaining to number of subscribers, the survey requests information at the smallest local
system level for which you maintain subscriber information. This survey requests system-level
information for certain questions because we have found that cable operators responding to this survey
are more likely to maintain, or are better able to estimate, certain information at the system level than for
a specific community.

Background:

The 1992 Cable Act requires the Commission to publish annually a statistical report on
average rates for basic cable service, cable programming service, and equipment. The report must
compare the prices charged by cable operators found to be subject to effective competition with those that
are not subject to effective competition. This survey is intended to collect the data needed to fulfill that
statutory requirement.
The questionnaire asks about an operator's monthly charge for basic service and expanded basic service as
of two dates: January 1, 2012 and January 1, 2013. In addition, the survey asks for information on other
factors such as the number of subscribers, the number of channels offered, the monthly charge for
equipment, the availability of a “family tier” of service, and channel lineups.

Service Definitions:

Basic Service is the package of channels (or tier) that includes the retransmission of
local broadcast stations; public, educational and governmental (PEG) channels; commercial leased access;
and other local stations. It sometimes may include a few satellite or regional channels.
The “expanded basic” service, “next most-subscribed” and “family” service are any package or tier of
channels other than the Basic Service. Section B of the questionnaire further defines the basic, expanded
basic, next most-subscribed and family services for the purpose of this survey.

Responding Officials:

Please complete the questionnaire to the best of your ability. A company official
who is familiar with the services offered and rates charged by the cable system should be responsible for
the completion of this survey and should be identified as the “contact person” in Section A of the
questionnaire. A second company official should certify, in Section A of the questionnaire, that the
information provided is complete and accurate to the best of his or her knowledge.

How to Access the Survey on the Commission’s Internet Site:

You can access the questionnaire at
http://www.fcc.gov/guides/2013-cable-industry-price-survey-download-site. After completing a login
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Federal Communications Commission

DA 13-671

process, which includes an FCC Registration Number (FRN) and a password of your choosing, you can
proceed to answer the questions directly on the Internet site. If you do not have an FRN, you can obtain
one by clicking on the link “FCC Registration Page.” Enter your FRN and Password and the Main Menu
will come up. Further instructions for completing the web-based survey are provided under the link for
“Instructions.” Paper filings will not be accepted. If you do not have access to the Internet, please call
the cable price survey team, Media Bureau, at 202-418-2330.

Confidentiality:

Your responses will be protected to ensure that after being received by the FCC they
are secure from unauthorized access. Survey data also is subject to requests for public release filed
pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). Nothing in this Order shall be construed as a
resolution on the merits of a FOIA request. If you wish to request confidential treatment of any data
provided in connection with this survey, in accordance with Sections 0.457 or 0.459 of the Commission’s
rules, you should request such confidentiality in writing and identify clearly the specific information you
wish to protect. You also should provide, as required by the rules, a complete explanation of why such
treatment is appropriate. If you submit a request for confidentiality, the Media Bureau will review it and
make a determination. The Bureau may dispose of multiple requests for confidentiality in a single
decision. You should make your request for confidentiality in an e-mail addressed to
cablesurvey@fcc.gov with “Request for Confidentiality” and the relevant CUID or company name in the
“subject” line. If you do not submit a request for confidentiality, the Commission may release your data,
including identifying information.

Comments

: There is no longer a “Notes” section at the end of the survey. If you would like to comment
on the survey in general or on any particular question, or would like to elaborate or explain any of your
answers, please send us your comments in an e-mail addressed to cablesurvey@fcc.gov with
“Comments” and the relevant CUID or company name in the “subject” line.

If You Need Help:

If you have any questions regarding the content of this questionnaire, the definitions
to be used in answering specific questions, or the method of filing, please call the cable price survey team
at (202) 418-2330, Monday through Friday, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. (ET), for assistance. You
may also e-mail cablesurvey@fcc.gov with questions.
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