We Need You to Take Action!
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed policy that could eliminate the major source of funding for Public Media Network and result in media access centers closing their doors in communities across the country.
The proposed policy would significantly change the structure in place for “franchise fees” – a structure that has been in place since the 1980s. The change would allow cable companies to essentially charge local municipalities for access to historically “in-kind” resources such as cable channels, I-net services, and access to the system to deliver content over these channels.
These in-kind resources are part of the public service obligation of cable companies for the ability to use public land to run their cable and fiber network for profit.
The ability for a cable company to charge municipalities for these in-kind services would cost our local governments millions of dollars. Local governments would be forced to choose between supporting community media or the millions of dollars of lost revenue.
Public Media Network, along with media access centers nationwide, is preparing to fight this policy change. This policy could eliminate the free access that community media centers provide to people to create their own media and broadcast it over the cable system. You could lose government transparency provided through televised local government meetings. This policy change could reduce your access to diverse information, the arts, and local voices in media. One of our most powerful and democratic community resources could be lost.
This is a historic decision-making process and we need you to voice your concern.
Submit a comment to the FCC before the due date of November 15 in just three steps:
1) Visit the FCC website at https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/search/proceedings?q=name:((05-311))
2) Click on “+ Express”
3) Fill in your information. In your comments, indicate your opposition to the tentative conclusion that cable-related in-kind contributions, such as those that allow community programming to be viewed on the cable system, are franchise fees. Include the value of this programming to you as a viewer. You can feel free to describe the programming you produce or like to watch.
Here is sample language you can use for your comments:
I oppose the tentative conclusion that cable-related in-kind contributions, such as those that allow community programming to be viewed on the cable system, are franchise fees. Community programming on PEG channels directly benefits cable subscribers and the larger community. The value of truly local programming to our community is significant. We need to continue to strengthen authentic expression and free speech to foster a healthy democracy. Community PEG programming is the only way for all people to have an equal voice on a multichannel video distribution platform. The provision of cable access channels is part of public interest obligations and a minor cost for the ability of cable communication companies to conduct business through use of the public right-of-way.
Other ways to help:
Donate to Public Media Network to help diversify our revenue streams, so we can be more resilient to changes in public funding.