Open Letter to Municipal Leaders

Greetings Municipal Managers, station managers and staff,

The possible loss of franchise fees seems difficult to comprehend after years under the present system, set up by Congress in the Communications Act of 1984 as a rental fee for the use of the public right of way for commercial enterprise by the cable operator. The majority (3) Republican commissioners at the FCC have rendered a “broader” interpretation of the Act which allows Cable operators to count ANY PEG services such as free cable drops to municipal or school buildings and any equipment or bandwidth provided to the municipality as part of the 5% franchise fee cap. Regardless of how your municipality uses these funds, their loss will place an additional burden on taxpayers.
The following is a well researched article that explains the ramifications of the FCC ruling for Colorado municipalities and their local channels if legal challanges or Congressional action fails to prevent it from taking effect. Much the same applies here in Maine.
Several members of Congress have written to FCC Chairman Pai (see attached Markey letter), Representative Pingree has co-authored a letter of opposition (also attached), Senator King plans to do likewise, Senator Collins and Senator Golden have only recently been contacted with no reply as yet.. I would urge you to make your Congressional representatives aware of your thoughts about this ruling by the FCC. If you wish to write to the FCC directly, a sample letter is attached for your reference.
The FCC comment period has passed, however comments for proceeding 05-311 are still being accepted and you can file yours here:
Over 9,000 comments have been filed in this proceeding to date, you can view them here:
Any significant updates will be issued and as always if you wish to be removed from this list, please reply with the word “Remove” in your first line of text. So far, none have been received!
Thank you for your interest and support.
Tony Vigue
Former President of CTAM