MACTA Considering Filing Comments to the FCC on the Comcast/Time Warner/Midwest Cable Transactions
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Given the legal complexities of the Comcast/Time Warner merger and the Comcast/Charter/Midwest Cable transactions (combined with the assumption that each local franchising authority’s [LFA] cable attorney is keeping their clients abreast of what is/isn’t happening) – I do not have any update from the local level at this time.
However, at the federal level, your local unit of government may wish to file comments on the pending transactions. FCC Proceeding, MB Docket No 14-57 is seeking comments, which are due by Aug. 25, on all of the transactions. Reply comments will be due Sept. 23.
At this time, an LFA does not need to request approval or denial of the transactions, but instead, could request the FCC impose conditions to ensure that the LFA and their respective community(s) will not be negatively impacted once the dust settles.
For example, you may want to consider asking the FCC to:
- Protect PEG programming and channels, (i.e., allow PEG funding to be used for operational support, not just for capital expenses; require programming to be available in BOTH standard and high definition; require channels be treated the same as broadcast channels, etc.)
- Close the “Digital Divide” by broadening the depth and width of Comcast’s “Internet Essentials” program, and to require any company that is involved with the transaction to offer a similar program
- Improve customer service by creating federal benchmarks to which the companies must adhere
These are just some of the concepts LFAs may wish to consider. A template for providing comments has been produced by the Alliance for Community Media, as well as step-by-step procedures on how to file.
The MACTA Board will be filing comments, either in the initial proceeding (Aug. 25) or in the subsequent Reply Comment period.