Did the commission exceed its authority under the act

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Reference no: EM131377406

Under the Communications Act of 1934 the Federal Communications Commission may not impose common carrier obligations on cable operators. A common carrier is one that ‘‘makes a public offering to provide [communication facilities] whereby all members of the public who choose to employ such facilities may communicate or transmit....''

In May 1976, the Commission issued rules requiring cable television systems of a designated size

(a) to develop a minimum ten-channel capacity by 1986;

(b) to make available on a first-come, nondiscriminatory basis certain channels for access by third parties; and

(c) to furnish equipment and facilities for such access.

The purpose of these rules was to ensure public access to the cable systems. Midwest Video Corporation claimed that the access rules exceeded the Commission's jurisdiction granted it by the Communications Act of 1934, because the rules infringe upon the cable systems' journalistic freedom by in effect treating the cable operators as ‘‘common carriers.''

The Commission contended that its expansive mandate under the Communications Act to supervise and regulate broadcasting encompassed the access rules. Did the Commission exceed its authority under the Act?

Reference no: EM131377406

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