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AU Professor Offers Perspective on Cable Regulation Deadline, March 31

For Immediate Release: March 22, 1999

Contact: Maralee Csellar, (202) 885-5952

WASHINGTON D.C.-- As the March 31 sunset of cable upper-tier price regulation draws near, American University Professor of Communication Patricia Aufderheide can provide a valuable perspective on the impact of the forthcoming deadline. A former telecommunication policy analyst, Aufderheide has untangled cable regulations and The Telecommunications Act of 1996 in her new book Communications Policy and the Public Interest: The Telecommunications Act of 1996 (Guilford Press).

According to Aufderheide, the interests of American cable consumers are taking second place to a shared interest among politicians and legislators to claim that the Telecommunications Act of 1996 is working. "The sunset provisions for cable price regulation in the Act assumed that there would be real competition in multichannel, subscription television by 1999," Aufderheide states. "In fact, as even the FCC admits, most of us in most of the country still have only one real choice: to take cable, or not to take it. Cable may offer us more than ever before, with digital channels and services, and from here on in, our cable operators can charge us what they think we can pay for it, too. Cable's power doesn't end with its control over the size of the monthly bill, either, as its range expands. Our cable providers may also be able to limit our choice of other kinds of services, such as phone and Internet provision."

In Communications Policy and the Public Interest, Aufderheide clearly states the law today and what important problems remain. She examines how and why the legislation was developed, provides a thematic analysis of the Act, and charts its intended and unintended effects in business, and policy. Aufderheide gives context and political insight to the technological, regulatory, political, economic, and legal ramifications of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

To arrange an interview with Professor Aufderheide, or to obtain a copy of Communications Policy and the Public Interest, contact Maralee Csellar at (202) 885-5952.

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