The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) order on cable franchising has been published in the Federal Register, setting an effective date of September 26, 2019. The order will substantially change cable franchises in many communities by allowing providers to deduct the value of many franchise obligations from their cash franchise payments to communities, and by eliminating local authority over non-cable services and infrastructure provided by cable companies. This order represents the most substantial change to cable franchising in the past 35 years, since the 1984 Cable Act was signed into law.
NLC held a webinar (recording available by registering) outlining the provisions of the order, what steps cities should take to prepare, and what advocacy efforts are in play to overturn the order. Speakers encouraged communities to:
- Conduct in-depth reviews of their existing franchises, side letters, settlements, service agreements.
- Examine state laws to assess the likely impact of the order before it goes into effect this month.
- Proactively communicate with community stakeholders and congressional delegations before the effective date of the order, to help them understand what may change in the community as a result of reduced funding availability.
Congressional opposition to the order, and any further preemption, is critically important.
Communities should review these steps as soon as possible and decide whether they are able to contribute to legal efforts to fight the order. For information about filing coalitions currently accepting clients, please contact Angelina Panettieri.
About the Author: Angelina Panettieri is the Principal Associate for Technology and Communication at the National League of Cities. Follow her on twitter at @AngelinainDC.