The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced a "Notice of Proposed Rulemaking" (NPRM) on telecommunications franchising. This is a very important issue for supporters of Community Access TV (Public Access, Educational, and Governmental (PEG) TV). At the moment it is local "franchises" negotiated between local communities/municipalities and the Cable TV companies which allocate the resources and channel space used by Community Access TV. However in recent months a variety of legislation has been introduced in Washington that would dismantle these local franchises and could, in the process, destroy Community Access TV. A strong ruling in support of local franchising by the FCC could play an important role in swaying Washington legislation towards supporting local franchising and supporting Community Access TV. Send your comments to the FCC NOW! (Deadline 13th Feb)
There are different ways of sending your comments...
1. INDIVIDUAL: If you are individual community member or the representative of a community based organization go to http://mnn.org/saveaccess/nprmhowto.html to submit your comments. Your brief comments should address themes such as the importance of Community Access TV, localism in the media, and the importance of the public having access to the airwaves (full instructions are available at this website).
2. COMMUNITY MEDIA ACCESS ORGANIZATIONS: If you are the representative of a Community Access TV station that is a member of the Alliance For Community Media you should file your comments at http://alliancecm.org/.
3. LOCAL FRANCHISING AUTHORITIES: The National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors are supporting comments by their members at www.natoa.org. And members of the National League of Cities, National Association of Counties and US Conference of Mayors have put out a call for local elected officials to join their efforts. Got to: http://www.nlc.org/content/Files/PFRFranchisingLawOverviewFinal.pdf
FILE YOUR COMMENTS BEFORE February 13th 2006. To see the comments others have already posted go to: link to gullfoss2.fcc.gov
In past the FCC has been fairly responsive the public comments, and, as illustrated by the outpouring of public opposition to media monopolies a couple of years ago, public comments can play a role in ensuring that the FCC rules in ways that serve the public good.
For more information about current legislation that could impact Community Access TV go to: www.mnn.org/saveaccess/