CAGW Joins Coalition Letter Supporting Clarification of Cable Franchise Fees | Council For Citizens Against Government Waste

CAGW Joins Coalition Letter Supporting Clarification of Cable Franchise Fees

July 25, 2019

 

Ajit Pai, Chairman

Michael O’Rielly, Commissioner

Brendan Carr, Commissioner

Jessica Rosenworcel, Commissioner

Geoffrey Starks, Commissioner

Federal Communications Commission

445 12th Street, SW

Washington, DC 20554

Re:      Implementation of Section 621(a)(1) of the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984 as       Amended by the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992,    MB Docket No. 05-311

Dear Chairman Pai and Commissioners,

We write in support of the draft Third Report and Order on the implementation of Section 621 of the Cable Act and urge its adoption at the Commission’s August open meeting.

The Order wisely reaffirms statutory guardrails on cable franchising and represents a significant win for consumers.  It provides a welcome curb on the efforts of some local and state governments to get around the Cable Act’s clear statutory caps on franchise fees and clear prohibitions against double-taxing mixed-use cable networks.  These practices have a chilling effect on investment in broadband networks, contrary to the bipartisan goals of promoting broadband deployment and boosting broadband adoption. 

The Cable Act was drafted to strike a smart balance, ensuring local governments receive fair compensation from cable companies for the use of public rights-of-way while preventing consumers from being burdened by excessive fees.  By reaffirming the 5% statutory cap on franchise fees – and appropriately limiting the in-kind demands that can be excepted from this cap – this Order will restore this balance as Congress intended.

Furthermore, the Order reaffirms that local authorities cannot require cable providers to seek multiple franchises – or pay multiple sets of franchise fees – just because their networks have mixed uses.  This finding is consistent with both the Cable Act and the Internet Tax Freedom Act, which specifically prevents state and local governments from imposing taxes on broadband access service.

We thank you all for your hard work throughout this proceeding.  This Order marks an important step forward in the Commission’s efforts to reduce regulatory obstacles to the swift deployment of wired and wireless broadband infrastructure. 

Sincerely,

Andrew Langer, President, Institute for Liberty

Dan Schneider, Executive Director, American Conservative Union

Patrick Hedger, Research Fellow, Center for Technology and Innovation, Competitive Enterprise Institute

Tom Schatz, President, Citizens Against Government Waste

Jerry Rogers, President, Capitol Allies

Seton Motley, President, Less Government

Pete Sepp, President, National Taxpayers Union

David Williams, President, Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Jeff Mazzella, President, Center for Individual Freedom

Charlie Sauer, President, The Market Institute

Phil Kerpen, President, American Commitment

Jason Pye, Vice President of Legislative Affairs, FreedomWorks

Wayne Brough, President, Innovation Defense Alliance

Zach Graves, Head of Policy, Lincoln Network

Matthew Kandrach, President, Consumer Action for a Strong Economy

Thomas Giovanetti, President, Institute for Policy Innovation

Bartlett Cleland, Executive Director, Innovation Economy Alliance

Christopher Koopman, Senior Director of Strategy and Research, Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State

(Signed in his individual capacity)

Eric Peterson, Director of Policy, Pelican Institute

Issues Topics: 
Coalition/CAGW: 
Coalition Letters

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