Cities should begin preparing for changes that allow a cable operator to reduce franchise fee payments to cities.
(Published Sep 3, 2019)
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted its Third Report and Order, FCC 19-80, on Aug. 1, making dramatic changes to cable franchises, many of which are managed by cities. The rule revisions were published in the Federal Register on Aug. 27 and take effect on Sept. 26.
This means that after Sept. 26, cable operators may seek to reduce cable franchise fee payments to cities by deducting the value of any in-kind contributions, including but not limited to I-Nets, complimentary cable service to government buildings, right of way requirements, public, educational, and governmental (PEG) transport, and video-on-demand.
While there is planned litigation to challenge the order and an effort to put the order on hold until legal challenges are completed, it is important to note that the order will likely remain in effect during litigation. Affected cities and other local franchising authorities should begin preparations to comply with the order and address the impacts of it.
Here are a few actions cities may want to take:
For more background information about this bill, read a previous Cities Bulletin article.
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