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SEC Filings

10-K405
RENAISSANCE MEDIA GROUP LLC filed this Form 10-K405 on 03/31/1999
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 Other Statutory Provisions
 
   The 1992 Cable Act, the 1996 Telecom Act and FCC regulations preclude a
satellite video programmer affiliated with a cable company, or with a common
carrier providing video programming directly to customers, from favoring an
affiliated company over competitors and require such a programmer to sell its
programming to other multichannel video distributors. These provisions limit
the ability of cable program suppliers affiliated with cable companies or with
common carriers providing satellite-delivered video programming directly to
customers to offer exclusive programming arrangements to their affiliates. The
1992 Cable Act requires operators to block fully both the video and audio
portion of sexually explicit or indecent programming on channels that are
primarily dedicated to sexually oriented programming or, alternatively, to
carry such programming only at "safe harbor" time periods currently defined by
the FCC as the hours between 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. A three-judge federal district
court recently determined that this provision was unconstitutional, and the
federal government announced that it will appeal the lower court's ruling. The
1996 Telecom Act also contains provisions regulating the content of video
programming and computer services and specifically prohibits the use of
computer services to transmit "indecent" material to minors. The United States
Supreme Court has found these provisions unconstitutional to the extent they
regulated the transmission of indecent material. The Communications Act also
includes provisions, among others, concerning horizontal and vertical
ownership of cable systems, customer service, customer privacy, marketing
practices, equal employment opportunity, technical standards, and consumer
equipment compatibility.
 
 Other FCC Regulations
 
   In addition to the FCC regulations noted above, there are other FCC
regulations covering such areas as equal employment opportunity, syndicated
program exclusivity, network program nonduplication, closed captioning of
video programming, registration of cable systems, maintenance of various
records and public inspection files, microwave frequency usage, lockbox
availability, origination cablecasting and sponsorship identification, antenna
structure notification, marking and lighting, carriage of local sports
broadcast programming, application of rules governing political broadcasts,
limitations on advertising contained in nonbroadcast children's programming,
consumer protection and customer service, ownership of home wiring and MDU
building inside wiring, indecent programming, programmer access to cable
systems, programming agreements and technical standards. The FCC has adopted
regulations to implement the requirements of the 1992 Cable Act designed to
improve the compatibility of cable television systems and consumer electronics
equipment. These regulations, inter alia, generally prohibit cable television
operators from scrambling their basic service tier and from changing the
infrared codes used in their existing customer premises equipment. This latter
requirement could make it more difficult or costly for cable television
operators to upgrade their customer premises equipment and the FCC has been
asked to reconsider its regulations. The 1996 Telecom Act directs the FCC to
set only minimal standards to assure compatibility between television sets,
VCRs and cable television systems, and to rely on the marketplace. Pursuant to
this statutory mandate, the FCC has adopted rules to assure the competitive
availability to consumers of customer premises equipment, such as converters,
used to access the services offered by cable television systems and other
multichannel video programming distributors. Pursuant to those rules,
consumers are given the right to attach compatible equipment to the Company's
cable facilities, so long as the equipment does not harm the Company's
network, does not interfere with the services purchased by other subscribers,
and is not used to receive unauthorized services. As of July 1, 2000, cable
television operators are required to separate security from non-security
functions in the subscriber premises equipment which they sell or lease to
their subscriber and offer their subscribers the option of using component
security modules obtained from the cable operator with set-top units purchased
or leased from retail outlets. As of January 1, 2005, the Company will be
prohibited from distributing new set-top equipment integrating both security
and non-security functions to its subscribers.
 
   The FCC has the authority to enforce its regulations through the imposition
of substantial fines, the issuance of cease and desist orders and/or the
imposition of other administrative sanctions, such as the revocation of FCC
licenses needed to operate certain transmission facilities often used in
connection with cable operations.
 
 
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