The FCC’s authority differs greatly regarding standard broadcast television stations and other types of television channels such as cable television. Cable television channels are available by subscription only; they cannot be received over the air. Consequently, cable operators are subject to a different set of FCC rules than broadcast television stations. A broadcast television station on a cable system is regulated as a broadcast station.
The FCC enforces regulations designed to promote competition among cable companies, satellite companies, and other firms offering video programming services to the general public. This competition-promotion function includes a variety of issues such as the following:
- commercial availability of set-top boxes
- commercial leased access
- mandatory carriage of television broadcast signals
- open video systems
- over-the-air reception devices
- program access
- the accessibility of closed captioning and video description on television programming
More specific information about these functions can be found on the FCC’s website, http://www.fcc.gov.