National Advocacy

On August 1, 2019, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a Third Report and Order on Section 621 of the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984. The Order will allow cable operators to deduct from the funding received by Access Television Centers the fair market value of non-monetary, “in-kind” cable franchise requirements, potentially reducing the revenue that those Centers have available to provide essential media services to local communities. The order went into effect on September 26 and is currently being appealed.

Read the draft Order and a fact sheet.
Read the Final Order.

Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts was an early opponent of the FCC’s action. In October of 2018, he presented a letter to the Commission supporting Access Television and co-signed by 10 other Senators, including Senators Sanders and Leahy of Vermont.

On January 21, 2020, Senator Markey and Representative Anna Eshoo of California introduced the Protecting Community Television Act on January 21. This legislation seeks to “ensure that community television operations continue to receive the resources they need to educate and inform viewers in the cities and towns where they operate” by amending the Cable Act of 1934 to modify the definition of a franchise fee to only include monetary assessments and not in-kind contributions. Senator Sanders and Representative Welch of Vermont have signed on as co-sponsors of the Act

Read a press release on the Protecting Community Television Act.

Read about what VAN is doing to protect Community Media on the statewide front.