Senator Tammy Baldwin (WI) and Senator Edward Markey (MA) Introduce the Community Access Preservation Act (CAP Act)

December 10 , 2013

For immediate release

 

Senator Tammy Baldwin (WI) and Senator Edward Markey (MA)

Introduce the Community Access Preservation Act (CAP Act)

 Senator Tammy Baldwin (WI) and Senator Edward Markey (MA), jointly introduced legislation today that will help preserve Public, Educational and Government (PEG) access television channels across the country.  The introduction of the Community Access Preservation Act (the CAP Act), was hailed by American Community Television (ACT) as critical to saving hundreds of channels as well as jobs in the twenty-two states that passed statewide or state-issued franchising laws since 2005.

 “ACT has been working with these offices and many others to create a solution that will reverse the harm done to PEG access television,” said John Rocco, President of American Community Television.  “The CAP Act is critical to the survival of these important local television channels.  We are already losing channels and could lose many more if we don’t restore the intent of the Cable Act.”

 Wisconsin was amongst those hardest hit by statewide or state-issued cable franchising laws passed since 2005.  Funding for PEG channels has been eliminated in Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, South Carolina and Wisconsin. ACT estimates as many as five hundred PEG channels in these states are at risk of shut-down. And cable run PEG channel operations were closed in several states, to include over fifty closures in California.

“Congress, through the cable acts of 1984 and 1992, intended to make sure that local communities could have PEG access channels and funding in return for the cable operators’ use of public rights-of-way,” said Rocco.  “This legislation will restore what Congress intended and helps to secure a local community’s ability to use these channels to communicate.  We want to thank Senator Baldwin and Senator Markey for working together to save these channels.”

For over forty-five years, PEG access television has aired local government meetings, community events, educational and nonprofit programming, as well as individual programming.  It is estimated there are over 5,000 PEG access channels in the United States with over two million hours of locally produced original programming each year.

ACT worked closely with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in this advocacy effort.  The CAP Act is also supported by the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors; the Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church; Americans for the Arts and dozens of municipal leagues and local governments  around the country.

For more information on the CAP Act or PEG access television, contact John Rocco, President at john@acommunitytv.org or Bunnie Riedel, Executive Director at riedel@acommunitytv.org or by calling 410-992-4976.

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