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FCC Threat to Community Television

August 1, 2019 Update From Julie Thompson, PACTV Executive Director 

"Last Thursday the FCC vote to approve a rule change that could impact PEG funding. The vote was 3 to 2 with Commissioners Rosenworcel and Starks dissenting. We are not surprised by the vote and will work with the Mass AccessAlliance for Community Media, Mass Municipal Association and our towns so we can continue to do positive work in our communities. We are still moved by the comments that you filed in support of PACTV, Plymouth EDTV and Duxbury's DragonTV to the FCC and will keep you posted as we get more information. Onward and Upward."

Next Steps:

According to the FCC's website, further notices to proposed rule changes can become effective at least 30 days after they publish it in what is called the Federal Register.

Parties who disagree with the final rules or FCC analysis may file a petition for reconsideration explaining why they believe the FCC was wrong.

The FCC will then issue an order granting or denying the petition.

If the FCC rules to proceed with their proposed rulemaking, PACTV, access centers, cities and towns, and advocacy groups may also seek court review of the decision.

To see the filings, visit this link: https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/search/filings?proceedings_name=05-311&sort=date_disseminated,DESC

We will keep you posted and thank you again for supporting PACTV, Plymouth Ed TV, Dragon TV and community media centers nationwide!

More about the FCC's proposed ruling:

The Federal Communications Commission is considering rule changes that would potentially alter, at cable operators' discretion, the terms of the agreements between cable operators and towns. The FCC's rule change would allow cable operators to treat funding for cable-related costs as “in-kind” donations. This means they would deduct an undefined amount from monies that traditionally have gone to community media. Under the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984 (amended in 1992), towns in Massachusetts can collect a franchise fee in exchange for cable's use of public right's of way. This franchise fee may be up to 5% of the cable operators' Gross Annual Revenues (GAR) assessed to cable subscribers and utilized for Public, Education and Government (PEG) access programming and channels. 

FCC Proposed Rule Change - Next Steps

FCC Propsed Rule Change - Follow up from PACTV