The New FCC Cable Franchise Rules

Protecting Local Interests and Navigating the Rules

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A


Conducted on Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Program Materials

Description

The FCC’s recent announcement of new cable franchise rules will significantly transform the cable franchising industry – and how local governments work with cable franchisers.

Under the new rules, local governments will be required to expedite the approval process for new competitors, limit the fees of new competitors and relax requirements that new competitors build cable television systems that reach every home – possibly as early as this fall.

Municipalities argue that the rules will result in a loss of local oversight, fewer dollars for public and government access channels, and the possibility of "cherry picking" by companies that choose to serve only the richest neighborhoods.

Listen as our authoritative panel analyzes and reviews the key issues of the new FCC rules, how they will impact local governments, and the arguments raised by current challenges to the rules.

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Outline

  1. Key Provisions of FCC Rules
    1. Shot clock - 90/180 days to act on a franchise application by a new provider, with the franchise "deemed granted" if the application is not acted on in that time
    2. Build out – prohibiting unreasonable requirements about where the new provider has to provide cable service and when PEG channels, funding – restrictions on the number of PEG channels and PEG funding a municipality can obtain
    3. INETS - restrictions on I-NETS (communications networks provided by cable companies for municipal use)
    4. Fees - deducting from franchise fees some in-kind benefits, some application related
    5. fees and costs of non-cable related services. Free service to city and school buildings appears at risk.
    6. Combined networks – municipal authority over combined cable and telephone systems and their construction
  2. Application of FCC Rules
    1. Which states the rules apply to (states recently enacting laws aiding phone company entry into cable may be exempted)
    2. Whether the new rules apply to current cable franchises, or only at renewal
    3. How the rules apply to AT&T, which claims it is not subject to the Cable Act
  3. Challenges to the Rules
    1. Appeals of the order and requests for stays
    2. Beyond FCC authority
    3. Violate the Cable Act
  4. Responses to phone company requests for a franchise under the new rules

Faculty

John Pestle
John Pestle
Partner
Varnum Riddering Schmidt & Howlett

He represents communities across the country on cable and telephone matters. In 2006 he received a Special Award of...  |  Read More

Tim Lundgren
Tim Lundgren
Partner
Varnum Riddering Schmidt & Howlett

He has worked with municipalities in several states on cable and telephone matters.

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