The FCC versus Public Access TV: What You Can Do

Hartland, Hartford, Hanover, Lebanon and Norwich impacted

Earlier this month, I posted about a proposed FCC rule that could mean the end of public access television for Norwich, as well as for Hartland, Hartford, Hanover, and Lebanon. See Proposed FCC Rule Could End Public Access TV In 5 Towns.   The FCC is proposing to redefine the calculation of franchise fees in a way that would tremendously reduce  that source of funding for the Public, Educational, and Governmental (PEG) stations in Vermont as well as those across the United States. 

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Executive Director Donna Girot of Community Access Television Inc. (CATV), which serves those five Upper Valley towns, offered two suggestions to folks who want to protest such action. Both involve asking Congress to reign in the FCC. 

1. Sign the petition, Stop the FCC from Defunding PEG Channels. By signing the petition, Petition2Congress will notify your Representative and Senators in Congress that Congress should stop the FCC from trying to re-write the 1984 Cable Act to financially starve local communities and our PEG channels in its rule-making."  Signing " [w]ill take two minutes to do,"  said Ms. Girot in an email. LINK: https://www.petition2congress.com/ctas/stop-fcc-from-defunding-peg-channels 

2. Directly contact your Representative and Senators in Congress. The message, according to Executive Director Girot: 

Tell them that you "feel strongly against the proposed FCC Docket 05-311 rule change that would allow cable companies to offset their in-kind services against the PEG franchise fees, tremendously reducing funding for public access TV and thus reducing the local government, education and public communication that is so vital to the hyper local intercommunication in your community.

In Vermont, Representative Peter Welch is particularly positioned to influence the outcome as he serves on the House Committee with oversight of the FCC. According to his website, one can call his office toll free at 1-888-605-7270. Contact him online at https://welch.house.gov/contact

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POSTED: 02.15.2019 

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