Tag Archives: FCC

Cable Companies Threaten to de-fund free speech community public access television. Save your Public Access Centers.

We call upon the FCC to reject the proposal coming from Cable companies to defund our PEG channels.
PEG channels provide Cable customers with the only truly LOCAL programming on their cable systems, and, at the same time, empower their customers and build community through digital inclusion, and education and access to the tools and technology needed to participate in the media landscape, something found nowhere else. PEG stations are really more of a selling point, that offers an edge to cable subscribers, a gain that comes exclusively from Cable. Why are they not seeing that? To suggest PEG is a burden to cable companies is disingenuous at best. The cost for Dish and and Phone networks is currently about the same as Cable, so to suggest PEG provisions are driving up the cost of cable may also be disingenuous. What is provided to sustain PEG is given in exchange of rights of way. ROW is something that deserves due consideration in the FCC’s decision in this process. Additionally, it should be noted that under current congressional legislation the cost for PEG is not something that has to be passed on to subscribers, the cable companies choose to do so. Public Access in Worcester has a demonstrated growing need for community participation and mainly from the disenfranchised. What happens to these people? Where is their free speech?The FCC must see the proposed rule change coming from the Cable providers as a nothing more than a money grab. If any changes are needed the Verizons , Dish networks, and the Googles, that should be giving back to support PEG as well, in exchange for the rights of way that they also benefit from. Write to the FCC and share this comment.


FCC Threatens Community PUBLIC ACCESS Television

Thanks to our friends at Brattleboro Community Television, we are sharing this. Take a moment to write a letter to protect the media outlets that truly empower your voice, your story, your views and opinions, your interest. Thank you.

FCC Threatens Community Television

On September 25, the FCC issued proposed rulemaking (Docket 05-311) that could have a catastrophic impact on BCTV and all Public, Educational and Governmental (PEG) cable access channels and community media centers around the country. We are calling on supporters to take a moment to file comments with the FCC expressing your disapproval of their proposed actions. Instructions for filing comments are available on this page.

You can still make a difference by filing an “Ex Parte” letter.

What’s at stake?

The new FCC rulemaking allows cable companies to assess the value for ‘in kind’ services related to providing PEG channels and deduct that amount from the Franchise Fees passed to municipalities and nonprofits like BCTV to run PEG stations and channels. These loosely defined ‘in kind’ costs can include the ‘value’ of the cable channels themselves as well as any other services provided. The FCC fails to set any guidelines or limitations to the values that cable companies can assess, and it’s conceivable that station operating funds could be eliminated.

You can help!

Here’s how to submit a letter that supports BCTV’s filed comments in opposition to the proposed Rulemaking.
1. Download and customize the letter template (BCTV_ExParteTemplate_LettertoFCC) and put it on your
letterhead if possible. Areas to customize are marked in Red. Make sure that you include your address. Save your letter as a
PDF file.
[Note: If you want us to file it for you, email it in any format to cor@brattleborotv.org]
To file the letter yourself:
2. Go to https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings and enter the following information:

Proceeding(s) 05-311 (hit ‘enter’ after to proceed)
Name(s) of Filer(s): Your Name or Organization (hit ‘enter’ after to proceed)
Law Firm(s): leave blank
Attorney/Author Names: leave blank
Primary Contact Email: Your Email Address
Type of Filing: choose “Letter”
File Number: leave blank
Report Number: leave blank
Bureau ID Number: leave blank
Address of: choose “Filer” from menu
Address: Your Address
Address 2 – City – State – Zip

  1. In the “Upload Documents” area, click to select your PDF file from your computer or drag and
    drop the file into the box.
  2. When the “Description” box appear, enter “Ex Parte Letter in support of the Comments of the
    Cable Act Preservation Alliance (“CAPA,” File ID 1114050901562) and the Reply Comments of
    the Vermont Access Network, Inc. (“VAN,” File ID 112798463855) and the Reply Comments of Brattleboro Community Television, Inc. (File ID 1113560010350).
  3. Check “Email Confirmation.”
  4. Click on “Continue to Review Screen.”
    7.Click on “Submit.”
  5. You should receive an email confirmation. Please forward this confirmation to cor@brattleborotv.org.

Thank you for supporting Commmunity Media in Vermont and across the nation!


Read the FCC Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Second FNPRM),

Read Comments already filed for RM 05-311


A federal proposal to limit cable-TV fees has public-access channels scrambling for survival (Colorado Sun)

Our opinion: Loss of BCTV Would Affect More Than Just Viewers (Brattleboro Reformer)
Will the FCC pull the plug on public-access TV? (The Commons)

FCC Proposal Could Hurt BCTV’s Bottom Line (Brattleboro Reformer)

BCTV: FCC Action Threatens Future (Vermont Business Journal)

FCC rule change could threaten PEG-TV funding (Rutland Herald)

FCC Threatens Governmental and Public Channels (Media Alliance)

A Proposed FCC Rule Change Could Put An End To Local Access TV Stations (WGBH)

FCC is at it again: Proposed changes to benefit big cable, harm local access channels

FCC Rule Change Could Limit Funding for Public Access Programs (NEPR)


In the Cable Act legislation of 1984, Congress established Franchise Fees and PEG Fees as a condition for cable operators providing commercial cable TV services. Franchise fees are often described as ‘rent’ for the commercial access and use to the public right of ways within a municipality. These fees help cover the associated costs to cities from cable TV installations and also help fund other municipal public services. PEG fees can optionally be established by a municipality to provide for the capital equipment necessary to the operations of local PEG channels. Both Franchise and PEG fees are public interest obligations that ensure the commercial media being pumped into residents homes is balanced by meaningful non-commercial locally originated content. Non-commercial PEG channels are unique, they provide an important means of free speech via the public channel, government transparency and communication with residents via the government channel and an educational channel available for use by local schools and universities. It’s important to note that Cable companies do not pay Franchise or PEG fees, these fees are paid by cable subscribers and merely pass through the cable companies to the cities and nonprofits. The new FCC rulemaking will not change the amount currently charged to cable subscribers, it merely allows cable companies to keep this money. The FCC explained that its proposals “are intended to place new entrants and incumbent cable operators on an equal regulatory footing and remove obstacles to the deployment of broadband.”

The FCC’s press release and supporting documents can be found here: https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-seeks-comment-lfas-regulation-cable-operators

How an FCC proposal could hurt Latinos

How an FCC proposal could hurt Latinos

By Gus West

There are few things that Latinos consume more than broadcast news. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, 86 percent of Latino adults say that on a typical weekday they get their news from television, and nearly 70 percent say they rely on Spanish language news media. Broadcast news continues to be an integral and positive part of Hispanic families’ daily media diet in this country.

At the Hispanic Institute, we are troubled by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposal to eliminate long-standing broadcast exclusivity rules – rules that protect TV broadcasters so that they are compensated fairly for the redistribution of their content by cable providers. These regulations also allow the FCC to review complaints by broadcasters that cable companies have violated the terms of these agreements. While the Hispanic Institute supports free enterprise, we also advocate for a fair, competitive marketplace and regulations that help our families – not harm them. Unfortunately, Chairman Wheeler’s proposal falls into the latter category.

Local broadcast television provides vital information to the Hispanic community, and we believe that the FCC should continue to implement rules that ensure local broadcasters fair compensation for their work. This content, such as the local news broadcasts we watch every day, is a vital source of information for Latinos. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, about eight-in-ten Latino adults say they keep up with the news “a lot.” From severe weather warnings, public school and safety information, and opportunities for community integration and engagement for our immigrant communities, local newscasts bring what is happening outside, inside our living rooms every night.

The consequences of the Chairman Wheeler’s proposal to eliminate broadcast exclusivity rules would have negative consequences for Latinos. If the FCC were to change the rules in favor of the cable industry, many broadcasters would lose enough revenue to see their stations close around the country. What would this mean? Besides major job losses, this means that the almost 60 million Americans – 41 percent of whom are minorities – who depend on free, broadcast television, would lose access to many local TV stations, including their treasured local news. 51 percent of Latino households who prefer to speak Spanish at home also solely rely on free broadcasting, according to a survey by GfK Media. Importantly, Latinos who rely on Spanish-language broadcast television already have few options when they want to get their news in Spanish. Eliminating these rules could cause more Spanish-focused stations around the country to close, leading to even fewer options for a community with comparatively fewer options already.

How is denying vital information to the public honoring the FCC’s commitment to empowering broadcasters to serve their local communities?

Latino consumers, like all American consumers, who are fortunate enough to afford cable service would also stand to lose if the FCC were to scrap exclusivity rules. Instead of paying local broadcasters fairly for their content, cable companies could choose to not add local networks to their cable packages, and instead replace them with signals from cities that are hundreds of miles away.

How would the 4.9 million Latinos living in Los Angeles County — 48.4 percent of the county’s total population– benefit from knowing what happened today in Inyo County, which has a total of 3,841 Latinos? How much of the nightly newscasts would be dedicated to important issues for our communities? By hurting local broadcasters, cable companies would be directly harming our community.

The Hispanic community takes news seriously. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, 80 percent of Hispanics who consume news media in Spanish or both languages say the Spanish language news media does an “excellent” or “good” job covering news specifically relevant to Latinos in the U.S. For our community, local news is not only valued but indispensable to understand what is going on in our local communities.

We hope the FCC understands the negative consequences Chairman Wheeler’s proposal to eliminate long-standing broadcast exclusivity rules would have on Latino and low-income families around the country who depend on local broadcast television, and honors its own mission to “revise media regulations so that new technologies flourish alongside diversity and localism.” The Latino community is counting on it.

West serves as board chair and president of The Hispanic Institute.

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Senators Push Back on FCC revision in JUST favor of consumers, municipalities, and PUBLIC ACCESS MEDIA CENTERS


“One of the primary outcomes of state regulation in Illinois has been incumbent cable ops abandoning local franchise negotiations to opt into the state deal. It definitely hasn’t increased competition and in significant ways has lowered the bar on public benefits.” Barbara Popovic CAN TV Chicargo

“If the proposed rule is implemented, all cable systems will be assumed to have ‘effective competition’ for their services in local markets. If all cable systems are deemed to have competition, then local franchising authorities would no longer have the power to set basic cable rates in their municipalities or require that a cable system provide public access, educational or governmental access channels as a public service.”
Bryan Harley
Facilities/Operations Manager,CMAC
1555 Van Ness
Fresno, CA 93721

[This push-back is good , ]”This would do what state franchises have done in many states and allow cable companies to circumvent local efforts to make basic cable affordable to low-income families and seniors. In places with State franchises, basic cable rates have doubled and tripled as a result of this deregulation.”
Michael Eisenmenger, Executive Director
Community Media Center of Marin
415.721.0636 x16 | michael@cmcm.tv

“I appreciate everyone’s input, comments, and petitions, let’s hope together we will avoided further unnecessary and harmful cable reforms for the Consumers, Public Access, and our Municipalities.” Mauro DePasquale, Executive Director, WCCA TV, Worcester, MA