The National Cable Telecommunications Association (NCTA) is circulating their talking points on Capitol Hill. Here is ACT’s response to NCTA 2011 ACT Response to NCTA
Recent FCC study on increasing cable rates FCC 2011 Price Survey
Here is the press release issued by Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Congressman Steven LaTourette (R-OH) Baldwin and LaTourette Press Release
What Will the CAP Act Do?
The CAP Act has four 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 the FCC to undertake a study on PEG.
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 FCC to undertake a study on PEG.
The FCC will be required to undertake a study within 180 days of the passage of CAP to analyze the effect of statewide/state issued franchise laws that have passed. It also requires an analysis of the impact of digital conversion on PEG. And it calls for the FCC to make recommendations for changes to the Telecommunications Act to preserve and advance PEG and localism.