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Weekly News From the President: 3,400+ Comments Submitted to the FCC

3,400+ Comments Submitted to the FCC

Over 3,400 comments against the FCC.

That’s what we saw from local businesses, faith groups, educators, school districts, public safety officials, state governments, local governments, elected officials at every level, and PEG channels across the US in the FCC’s rulemaking on cable franchising (Docket 05-311) as Friday’s reply comment deadline passed. You can sample some of the results on their website.

ACM was one of several local government coalitions that put forward legal arguments that the FCC is overstepping its authority when it tries to redefine franchise fees to include so-called “in-kind” support from cable systems (ACM’s reply comments). Your comments helped bolster our arguments about the worth of our work. Thank you!

This last week also saw significant support for PEG channels from the US House of Representatives as Rep. Marc Pocan (WI), Elliot Engel (NY), Tulsi Gabbard and Colleen Hanabusa (HI), all sent letters of concern to the FCC Chairman Ajit Pai about the effects and assumptions of the rule-making. Thank you to Jay April, Mary Cardona and Matt Sullivan for reaching out to their House members to ask for support for all of us.

While the Reply Comment deadline has passed, there is no deadline for the House to express its concerns about the FCC’s actions. We are asking all ACM members to contact members of the House of Representatives to ask for a similar letter expressing concern. If you need assistance reaching out to your representative, please let me know at mwassenaar@allcommunitymedia.org.

I will be working with our coalition partners to arrange meetings with the FCC in the coming days and will keep you posted on our progress fighting the rulemaking.

Manhattan Community Access Corp v Halleck, Public Policy & More

Meanwhile, the case of Manhattan Community Access Corp v Halleck keeps moving forward. And while initial amicus commenters stayed in their lane, there was an ominous legal brief from our “friends” at NCTA.

NCTA is arguing that the dispute between MNN and Dee Dee Halleck is besides the point, that PEG access channels themselves are unconstitutional and should be eliminated.

You can find this brief, along with other briefs, that have been filed so far online.

The problem with the brief is that it goes in front of a likely sympathetic Supreme Court, one that looks dimly on incursions on private property. It’s the nightmare scenario we’ve been warning against for the last year in this case.

We’ll be responding to the brief to defend your rights and the rights of communities across the country. If you ever needed an excuse for financially supporting the legal and public policy work of ACM, you have it now.

Go to our online ACM donation form to support ACM’s public policy and legal work today.

Mike Wassenaar
President & CEO
The Alliance for Community Media