Thursday, February 15, 2007

House subcommittee to grill FCC on local franchising

[Note: As noted in the comments, the hearing was postponed. Still time to get your calls, letters and emails in.]

The House Commerce & Telecommunications Subcommittee is scheduled to hold a hearing today, Thursday, Feb. 15th, to review the FCC. Among the many issues of concern is the FCCs December 20th FCC Ruling on Video Franchising. The ruling:

(1) imposes a 90-day shot clock for new entrants with existing rights of
way;
(2) requires the grant of a new entrant’s franchise after 90-days;
(3) limits the scope of a new entrant's build-out obligation;
(4) authorizes a new entrant to withhold payment of fees that its deems to be in excess of the 5 percent cap;
(5) undermines support for public, educational and government (PEG) access channels PEG and local, institutional networks (INET);
(6) authorizes a new entrant to refrain from obtaining a franchise when it is upgrading mixed use facilities that will be used for the delivery of video content.

FCC Commissioner Adelstein offered these dissenting comments:
“The policy goals of this Order, to promote competitive video offerings and broadband deployment, are laudable. But while I support these goals, today’s item goes out on a limb in asserting federal authority to preempt local governments, and then saws the limb off with a highly dubious legal and policy scheme that substitutes our judgment as to what is reasonable for that of local officials – all in violation of the franchising framework established in the Communications Act.”
Commissioner Copps dissented and wrote:
"My goal was to encourage an item that preserves a local authority’s statutory right to seek specific and far-reaching build-out requirements, protects each community’s ability to negotiate for PEG and I-NET facilities, and maintains truly meaningful local ability to deal with the huge companies that are coming into our cities and towns toPublish build important infrastructure."
Save Access.org has a online letter writing tool you can use to voice your opinion with the key house members of the subcommittee.

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1 comment:

Rob McCausland said...

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet oversight hearing with the FCC has been postponed so that members might attend the funeral of Committee member Charles Norwood. (R-Ga)