Citing statistics included in the FCC’s 2006 cable industry report that tallies the U.S. cable penetration rate at 56%, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) questioned plans by the FCC to invoke the “70/70 rule,” which gives the FCC statutory authority to expand its regulatory powers over the cable industry if cable is available to 70% of U.S. households and at least 70% of those households subscribe to cable services. Later this month, the FCC is expected to release its thirteenth annual report on the state of competition in the U.S. multichannel video program distribution industry. Speaking to reporters last Friday, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said that statistics to be provided with the upcoming report show that the 70% threshold has been met. Accordingly, sources close to the FCC say that Martin intends to invoke the 70/70 rule, perhaps as early as this month, to roll out a new slate of proposed regulations that, among other things, would (1) cap cable system ownership by any one firm at 30% of pay TV subscribers nationwide, (2) slash cable leased access rates by as much as 75%, and (3) require cable network owners to offer channels to competitive video service providers on a “wholesale à la carte” basis. In a letter addressed to Martin, the NCTA cast doubt on the FCC’s findings as it pointed to data from multiple third-party sources as well as from the FCC’s 2006 cable report that place the U.S. cable market penetration rate anywhere from 56% to 67.8%. Asserting that the 70/70 rule contained in the 1984 Cable Act “relates only to leased access—not to cable ownership, not to program access, not to rate regulation, not to wholesale or retail bundling or packaging of cable programming,” the NTCA told Martin that “manipulating data to justify an unsupportable interpretation of regulatory authority does a serious disservice to consumers at a time when the FCC . . . has many other important duties.”