March 7, 2011
Georgia House Bill 385 will eliminate PEG access television in the state of Georgia according to American Community Television and the Georgia Municipal Association’s Legislative Alert (March 4, 2011).
“AT&T and the cable operators are on the march again,” said John Rocco, President of American Community Television. “It was bad enough when a few years ago they got legislation passed that would eliminate all PEG access funding by 2012, but now they are cutting the throat of PEG television by pushing legislation that immediately wipes it out.”
Supporters of the legislation claim that the Georgia bill is similar to bills passed in Virginia and North Carolina that levied an excise tax on all telecommunications providers.
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” said Rocco. “The legislators in those states were adamant about keeping PEG channels and PEG grant funding. The truth is this bill will raise taxes on Georgia’s consumers while providing a give-away to the companies that use our public rights-of-way. At what point in time do we stop allowing the cable operators to drain consumers dry?”
Most statewide franchising or telecommunications legislation is heralded by the cable corporations (such as AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Cox) as encouraging competition and lower prices for the consumer. However, studies have shown that cable operators raise rates as much as 5% to 40% per year whether competition exists or not.
“Comcast is a big player in Georgia, we certainly hope they will openly oppose this bill given the promises they made to PEG access television in the Comcast-NBC Universal merger agreement,” said Rocco. “The PEG provisions in this bill are typical AT&T. They seek to wipe out PEG at every turn, spending millions of dollars lobbying state legislators to do so. How about they use the money they spend lobbying to destroy PEG and use it to support PEG for a change?”
American Community Television advocates and educates on behalf of Public, Educational and Government (PEG) access television across the country. To interview John Rocco (President) or Bunnie Riedel (Executive Director) please call 410-992-4976 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.