Sunday, March 4, 2007

FCC Adopts Simplified Video Franchising Rules

The FCC formally adopted new rules aimed at simplifying the franchising process for new entrants into the video market.



In late December 2006, the FCC voted 3-to-2 to approve new rules that prohibit local franchising authorities from unreasonably refusing to award competitive franchises for the provision of cable services. The vote is a victory for A&T, Verizon and other telephone providers seeking to enter the market for video services.



The majority of FCC commissioners concluded that the current franchising process required by local municipalities constitutes an unreasonable barrier to entry that impedes the achievement of the interrelated federal goals of enhanced cable competition and accelerated broadband deployment.



The new rules would prohibit towns or cities from engaging new market entrants in drawn-out local negotiations with no time limits; unreasonable build-out requirements; unreasonable requests for "in-kind" payments that attempt to subvert the five percent cap on franchise fees; and unreasonable demands with respect to public, educational and government access.

http://www.fcc.gov

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