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Weekly News from the President- A Big Win at the FCC

The FCC’s Open Internet order last week is welcome news to independent media and to PEG access producers and production centers across the U.S., and the Alliance for Community Media applauds the action.

While it won’t have any immediate effect on the day-to-day work of PEG media, the principles of free expression and open communication platforms in the order are welcome almost universally across our field. Unlike the First Amendment – which precludes government suppression of free speech – the principles of Net Neutrality embraced by the order are meant to keep the Internet open against government AND corporate suppression.

That’s the reason so many local governments and PEG centers around the country have supported the concept in the last decade, and fought for it at the local, state and federal level.   It’s good to win a victory with so many allies and friends.

A number of PEG advocates around the country have asked me if the order will have a positive effect on the ability of local and state government to financially support community media.  Unfortunately, that will be a different set of battles at the state and federal level. But even so, the FCC’s standard is an important one for us all to embrace and promote.

For a look at the order, the FCC has a summary here: http://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-adopts-strong-sustainable-rules-protect-open-internet

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In the meantime, ACM has continued to press the FCC to protect PEG community media from harms in our ex parte meetings on the Comcast/Time Warner/Charter transactions and the AT&T DirecTV merger.  Last week, ACM Board member Jim Horwood, counsel Tim Lay from Spiegel McDiarmid and I met with the merger teams for both deals at the FCC. We pressed the case that PEG channels must have equal treatment with other cable channels, and that the mergers will cause harm to our industry. We should hear about the state of the deals in the next several months. Stay tuned.

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I’m really looking forward to speaking next week in Lansing MI at the Central States Regional Conference being held with Michigan NATOA. Members of the ACM National Board will be attending the conference as well. I hope you can join us!