Local governments react to video franchising ruling
Local government groups that fought the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision to provide federal guidelines for cable franchising are expressing disappointment. The Washington-based National League of Cities (NLC), the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and the National Association of Counties (NACo) had sent letters to the FCC saying the ruling would be bad for consumers and local governments.
In a statement on the ruling last week, the FCC claims that local franchising authorities unreasonably refuse franchise rights through drawn-out negotiations and steep build-out and access demands. Opponents to the ruling say local governments depend on money from cable franchises, and NLC and USCM are concerned that only well-to-do areas will receive broadband service. “We are confounded by [last week’s] decision … that would systematically block the ability of local governments to protect their citizens, local assets and revenues,” NLC Executive Director Donald Borut says.
NACo Executive Director Larry Naake says the FCC has overstepped its authority by making the ruling and has no legal authority to oversee cable franchising. USCM Executive Director Tom Cochran says the decision would harm consumers and cities. “It is clear that [the] ruling represents the FCC’s response to the pleadings of a very powerful industry.”