NACo Submits Support to Stay FCC Cable In-Kind Order

NACo filed a letter in support of a motion to stay the FCC’S Cable In-Kind order.

From NACo’s letter:

County governments serve as a foundation for the infrastructure systems that allow our communities to thrive. Through these systems, we are responsible for community and economic development, education and workforce development and public health and safety. As an elected member of the federal, state and local intergovernmental partnership, we are tasked by the public with ensuring proper stewardship of local resources while protecting the health and well-being of our residents.

The Order – which subjects cable-related, in-kind contributions to the statutory five percent franchise fee cap established under the Communications Act – will impose irreparable harm on local governments and the local franchising authorities (LFAs) ability to provide critical programs and services while protecting public property safety and welfare. The motion to Stay the effective Order is imperative until the courts can provide an unambiguous interpretation of the Commission’s Order against the intent of the Cable Act.

In August, the FCC adopted a Third Report and Order that was strongly opposed by county governments as it would subject cable-related, in-kind contributions to a statutory franchise fee cap. The cap would result in a 30-40 percent reduction in franchise fees — a large decrease of resources for important local programs and services.

A brief explanation also from NACo on cable-related, in-kind contributions:

Local franchising authorities often require cable providers to offer in-kind contributions, such as public, educational or government (PEG) channels, as a condition to a franchise agreement. These in-kind contributions, including PEG channels, provide significant public benefits to communities, such as transparency and accountability through access to local and regional government meetings; educational programming including for-credit courses; coverage of local events; local election coverage; candidate forums; and public safety programming.

For more information:

NACo’s Cable In-Kind Motion to Stay Letter 

Recent FCC Orders Create Opportunities and Challenges for Counties (NACo Blog)

At this year’s MACo Winter Conference, special guests will join a live recording of the Conduit Street Podcast to discuss the ever-shrinking island of cable television. The session, “New Technology, New Policy – The Ever-Shrinking Island of Cable
Television,” will focus on the county role in the telecommunications market of the 2020s.

The 2019 MACo Winter Conference, Building for the Future,” will be held on December 4-6, 2019, at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Hotel in Cambridge, Maryland.

Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference: