Saturday, June 10, 2006

House Passes Bill to Gut Local Control of Cable Franchises

The House (recently) passed H.R. 5252, a bill to replace local control of cable franchises with a set of minimal requirements under a national franchise. Currently, each local franchising authority, typically a municipal government, is permitted to negotiate agreements with video service providers that are looking to introduce service into an area. The agreements include compensation to the locality for uses of its rights of way, funding for PEG (public, educational and governmental) programming, customer service dispute procedures and other terms.

"Without stronger anti-discrimination and build-out requirements in the bill, my constituents in the Bronx stand to benefit very little from a national video franchise," said Serrano, who opposed the bill. "Until such protections are in place, I cannot consider supporting legislation that would usurp local authorities' ability to police their public rights of way and gut funding streams for public interest programming."

Serrano also supported a "net neutrality" amendment that would have prevented network service providers from degrading or giving preference to internet traffic from any content provider or application.

source: The Serrano Report
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