The rule, which had been in place since its passage in 1992, centered around competition. "Effective competition," as defined by Congress, meant that more than one cable company operated in a market.
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The industry's evolution to include satellite television and other platforms has led the FCC to conclude that competition exists in nearly all evaluated markets.
"It is only appropriate for the Commission to adopt a process that reflects the reality that effective competition exists throughout the nation, and provides relief to operators both large and small," said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in a statement.
Cable companies have supported the rule change. But some broadcasters had feared scrapping local oversight would allow cable providers to put certain stations in more expensive tiers.
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Wheeler added that, despite those fears, the FCC has found that the average rate for basic cable is lower in competitive markets than in noncompetitive areas.
(Disclosure: Comcast is the owner of NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC and CNBC.com.)