Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Big cable changes in the works!

There's some interesting changes a-happening in regards to cable and the way franchises are handled at the local level. I'm generally against anything that takes away local control and started out completely against this. However, after reading some counter view points I'm completely undecided! I'll have to do some more reading.

If you read the first link to the blog, the author lays out a very good case for why we should watch out for this one. Be sure to read the responses to his blog, there's some good counter arguments. NACO, the National Association of Counties is dead set against the changers. Read on to see their press release and then click on the links to see some background info and other opinions.

Here's a great blog on the subject: YOUR CABLE TV RIGHTS ARE IN JEOPARDY

http://www.fcc.gov/mb/facts/csgen.html

http://www.mediatank.org/resources/ownership/cable/

Communications, Promotion, and Enhancement Act of 2006: http://www.benton.org/benton_files/bartonbillaprilupdate.doc

Best place I've found to keep up with the latest and greatest on the bill:

Summary (http://www.benton.org/index.php?q=node/1882)
This bill, now H.R. 5252, would create of national cable franchises, provides the FCC with authority to ensure Net Neutrality, set rules for emergency 911 services on Internet telephone (VoIP) services and govern municipal broadband networks.
House Report 109-470 includes this analysis of the bill
Read full summary from Benton Foundation.

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National Association of Counties says FCC oversteps legal authority with draft order on video franchising

WASHINGTON, D.C.– The National Association of Counties (NACo) today said that the Federal Communications Commission has overstepped its legal authority with today’s decision to change the way cable franchises are granted in communities across the country.

“The nation’s counties are disappointed and unhappy about this overreaching decision by the FCC,” said NACo Executive Director Larry E. Naake. “They have decided to limit the authority for video franchising such as cable services from local government and to oversee franchising by the FCC even though the FCC has no expressed legal authority to do so.

“The nation’s counties welcome video competition in their communities,” Naake said. “However, this decision undermines local franchising authority and enforcement, threatens local budgets, and limits the benefits of broadband video competition to a few well-to-do neighborhoods.”

NACo, along with the National League of Cites, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors, had written to the FCC Chairman outlining their collective concerns about the draft order. The letter is available at http://www.naco.org/Template.cfm?Section=telecommunications_and_technology&template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=22014

In addition, several members of Congress, including Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), and Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), have expressed similar concerns in recent days about the legal authority of the decision in letters to Chairman Martin.