American Community Television Asks Kerry to Strengthen PEG Provisions in Telecommunications Act Rewrite

American Community Television (ACT) sent a letter to Senator John Kerry today asking him to strengthen Public, Educational and Government (PEG) access television provisions in the rewriting of the Telecommunications Act. John A. Rocco, President of ACT, wrote

We urge you to consider PEG access television and its importance as you weigh the elements of the Telecommunications Act that you want to amend. Between 2005 and 2008, twenty states passed statewide cable franchising legislation, and a great majority of that legislation has had a harmful effect on PEG.

In six states (IA, MO, OH, GA, WI, FL), PEG support funding will be terminated between now and 2012. ACT estimates as many as 400 channels could go dark in those states.

“Our members in those states are in desperate need of the positive federal relief that could come as a result of changes in the Telecommunications Act,” wrote Rocco. ACT has seen an all out attack on PEG access as a result of the cable industry’s pressure on lawmakers and regulators. PEG access channels have been closed down in California, Indiana and Illinois. As a result of the statewide franchising in California, Time Warner closed down Public access in Los Angeles. Rocco cited the key role Kerry played in support of PEG access during the 1996 rewrite of the Telecommunications Act, “In 1996, you played a key role in helping to preserve PEG access television. We now ask you to consider what can be done to strengthen and preserve this important medium.”

A similar letter was sent to Senator John D. Rockefeller, Congressman Henry Waxman and Congressman Rick Boucher. To arrange an interview with Mr. Rocco or to speak with ACT Executive Director, Bunnie Riedel, call 410-992-4976 or email riedel@acommunitytv.org

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