FCC votes to diminish benefits to communities nationwide.

Yesterday the FCC fired the first shot in a battle that will last for a while, voting to take away the benefits guaranteed to cities/towns & community media centers nationwide under the Cable Act. This will not only affect us, but also the City of Lynn.

To be clear: we aren’t funded by taxpayers. We are funded by the revenue generated by cable companies like Comcast & Verizon – who reportedly made $94.5 billion & $130 billion in 2018, respectively. Make no mistake, if this comes to pass as the FCC & big corporations want, your bills won’t go down. This will lead to the slow death of an entire industry, loss of hyper-local coverage, and much more – all so they can claim back a very small 5% of their total revenue.

You can read our previous blog post by clicking here as a quick summary of the situation. Below you can read a press release from the Alliance for Community Media on yesterday’s vote.

Alliance for Community Media says FCC Cable Vote Will Harm Local Media

For Information Contact: 
Mike Wassenaar, President & CEO
(952) 928-4643

The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 Thursday to limit the benefits that communities get in return for the corporate use of public property and rights-of-way in its Third Report and Order on cable franchising.  The Alliance for Community Media – which represents community access television stations across the United States said the move that will cost cities and towns millions of dollars in hidden fees paid to cable companies.

Under laws set up by Congress, communities are allowed to charge rent or “franchise fees” for the use of public property and rights-of-way.  Congress capped that rent at 5 percent of gross revenues on cable bills.

The FCC Order will now expand the definition of franchise fees – to include non-monetary support for local communities and Public, Educational and Government Access television – even though Congress clearly intended those fees be only monetary payments.

The proposed rules would allow cable companies to assign market values to these benefits and then charge the amount back to local communities in most cases.   Benefits include items like free cable subscriptions to schools, discounts for the elderly, and fiber connectivity to local government buildings like police departments, fire stations and libraries.

Alliance for Community Media President & CEO Mike Wassenaar said the vote was deeply disappointing because it ignores forty years of business practices in the United States, and tries to rewrite the law, which only Congress is authorized to do.   He says the Order is intended to squeeze town and city budgets in order to increase cable company profits, and may result in less local content on local cable channels, which is not the intent of the law either.

“At a time when everyone agrees we need MORE local media this is not the moment to take money out of the pockets of the groups who actually produce local content in order to give it away to the cable industry.   This Order will mean less local content and more corporate profit, which is not the intent of the law.  Our thanks to FCC Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Geoffrey Starks for their dissents on the Order.”

Video is available here:  https://vimeo.com/348243022

The Alliance for Community Media is a national organization representing Public, Educational and Government Access TV channels across the United States.   More information is available at www.allcommunitymedia.org.


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Lynn Community Television is here to provide the Lynn community with access to express their First Amendment Rights via broadcast media. View all posts by lynntvorg

4 thoughts on “FCC votes to diminish benefits to communities nationwide.”

  1. I will try to call those who can make a difference in Washington. I believe (not for sure) it is a result of the right being in charge in Washington and seeing much of the content on all cable channels so far left. Out program “Frankly Speaking” is the Only conservative show on LVCTV. All the other programs are from the far left. One show on at 6 in the evening is so far left it is Communist in content. This is seen in almost all local cable outlets. That said there is an urgent need for local news and programming as there are almost no local radio programs like WESX was in days of yore.

    1. It is dangerous to play politics with this issue, which is what you are doing (intended or not). There is no possible way that public access is to the far left or right. The beauty of this medium is that literally anyone can create a show.

      If you are as tired of seeing “far left” or “communist” shows as you say then gather friends to have them create their own conservative shows. The shows you see on public access tv are those made by the most motivated. i don’t want to watch them personally, but it’s great when there is competing viewpoints out there instead of an echo chamber.

      That being said everyone should contact their elected officials and get them up in arms over this. they need to be paying attention because it also affects them, just read what is writen above. Stations like lctv are vital because papers like the item are failing at their job to inform everyone properly, so we need more sources of info. With passage of this bill from this dangerously misinformed FCC panel this is sad.

  2. This is what’s been going on from this administration, TAKE FROM THE POOR AND GIVE TO THE RICH, or THE FAKE RICH KNOWN AS SWINDLERS.

  3. This administration has been waging war on the media since President Obama was in office, they spent all that time to get ready, that explains why President Obama couldn’t depend on the Democratic Leadership then, Nancy just showed her rear end by making a secret deal with her president! LOW LIFE !

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