Read and follow the CAP Act at the Congress.Gov website
What Will the CAP Act Do?
The CAP Act has six primary purposes:
- Removes the distinction between “capital” and “operating” PEG support fees.
- Provides PEG funding and channels in states with statewide/state-issued franchising laws
- Requires cable operators to transmit the channels at no charge to the local government
- Requires cable operators to carry the PEG channels on the Basic tier of service so that every cable subscriber can receive them without need for additional equipment
- Allows access channels and municipalities, when they are ready to transmit in HD, to request HD channels and gives cable operators 180 days to comply.
- Allows access channels and municipalities, when they are ready to provide programming schedules, to request their programs be listed on the electronic programming guide and gives cable operators 180 days to comply.
1. It removes the distinction between “capital” and “operating” in PEG support fees.
PEG support fees that are collected from subscribers by the cable operators can only be used for “capital and equipment” and not for operational overhead. The CAP Act will eliminate that part of the Telecommunications Act that prevents PEG centers from using PEG support for their operating expenses. Right now, access centers are having to close their doors because even though they receive money for buildings and equipment, they do not have or are losing money for operations. The CAP Act will allow centers to spend the PEG support fees as they see fit to keep the centers open and keep the channels on the air.
2. Provides PEG funding and channels in states with statewide/state-issued franchising laws.
CAP provides that PEG channels will receive the greater of: the historical support it received prior to the damaging statewide/state issued franchising laws that have passed since 2005–OR–the amount that operators are required to pay under the new statewide/state issued franchising laws–OR–2% of gross revenue. It returns the number of channels a community can have to the same number that was being provided as of May 31, 2005 or if a community has no channels, up to 3.
3. Requires cable operators to transmit the channels at no charge to the local government.
Right now, in some states,cable operators are charging local municipalities for the transmission of the channels. These transmission costs range from hundreds to thousands of dollars each year and are a burden to local communities.
4. It requires the cable operators to carry the PEG channels on the Basic tier of service so that every subscriber can receive them without need for additional equipment.
PEG channels in various states have been moved to the high digital tier, out of reach for those who have Basic cable. We must ensure that PEG channels will be available to every subscriber without the need for additional equipment. In some places, cable operators are charging five dollars or more per month for this additional equipment. Cable subscribers should have access to PEG programming without having to rent additional equipment.