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New York State Commission on Cable Television v. FCC

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Citation Edit

New York State Comm’n on Cable Television v. Federal Commc’ns Comm’n, 749 F.2d 804 (D.C. Cir. 1984) (full-text).

Appellate Court Proceedings Edit

The court considered a challenge to a Commission order preempting state regulation of early satellite television. The petitioner did not argue that the Commission’s exercise of ancillary authority lacked sufficient grounding in express statutory authority.[1] However, in sustaining the Commission’s action, the court noted that “[i]n its preemption order the Commission based its authority over [satellite television] upon the federal interest in ‘the unfettered development of interstate transmission of satellite signals.’”[2]

The Commission’s preemption order also expressly linked its exercise of ancillary authority over satellite television to its Title III authority over users of the radio spectrum. The Commission noted that the reception facilities that states sought to regulate (satellite dishes on hotel and apartment building roofs) “initially were subject to Commission licensing,” calling these receivers “absolutely essential instrumentalities of radio broadcasting.”[3]

The Commission also cited section 303, which provides that “the Commission . . . as public convenience, interest, or necessity requires, shall . . . [c]lassify radio stations; . . . [p]rescribe the nature of the service to be rendered by each class of licensed stations and each station within any class; . . . [a]ssign bands of frequencies to the various classes of stations,” and so on.[4]

References Edit

  1. See id. at 808 (describing petitioner’s challenge).
  2. Id. at 808 (quoting In re Earth Satellite Commc’ns, Inc., 95 F.C.C.2d 1223, 1230, ¶16 (1983)).
  3. Earth Satellite Commc’ns, 95 F.C.C.2d at 1231, ¶17 (internal quotation marks omitted).
  4. 47 U.S.C. §303.

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