Local governments ask federal appeals court to block FCC ruling
A group of local governments and nonprofit organizations have asked the federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to block implementation of the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) recently adopted cable franchising order, due to take effect in the next several weeks. The order restricts local authority in granting cable franchises, and opponents say it would force them to rush approval of franchises without assuring that the public’s interest is met.
The organizations, including the Washington-based National League of Cities, National Association of Counties and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, filed petitions for review of the order with the court in April. In those petitions, the groups claim the order exceeds the FCC’s authority, is unconstitutional and violates the Communications Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.
In the Joint Motion for Stay, which was filed Wednesday, the organizations say the order is arbitrary and capricious. “The ‘Alice in Wonderland’-like quality of the order, where up is down and down is up, is readily apparent,” the organizations state in the document. Specifically, the motion says a 90-day deadline for local governments to negotiate, review, obtain public comment on and enact franchises is unreasonable, and that officials worry the order will widen the digital divide between people with access to cable service and those without.