Locals protest FCC ruling
This week’s official release of the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) order limiting local cable franchising has drawn new condemnation from local government associations.
While the FCC voted on the order in December, it did not officially release it until Monday. The purpose of the order, according to an FCC statement, is to eliminate the “unreasonable barrier” cable providers face from local franchising authorities. “[The ways in which local authorities present an unreasonable barrier] include drawn-out local negotiations with no time limits; unreasonable build-out requirements; unreasonable requests for ‘in-kind’ payments …; and unreasonable demands with respect to public, educational and government access,” the order states. The order is available at www.fcc.gov, and the FCC is now seeking public comment on how the order’s findings should be applied.
A collection of local government associations, including the Washington-based U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities and the National Association of Counties, released a statement saying they strongly disagree with the FCC order and the FCC’s authority to rule on the subject. “The coalition is carefully reviewing the commission’s decision, which will bring great harm to local governments across the country by undermining their authority to act to protect the taxpaying public,” the statement says.