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Appeals Court Backs FCC on City Cable Franchise Rules

Jun 27, 2008  •  Post A Comment

A Cincinnati appellate court panel gave the Federal Communications Commission a big win by rejecting cities’ and states’ contention that the agency overstepped its authority by limiting what they can demand in return for new cable franchises.
A divided FCC in March 2007 approved a rule that required cities to act on new cable franchise requests within 90 days. The order also limited what cities could seek in payment and benefits from cable companies in return for the approval.
Some cities had demanded new providers set timetables to build out to all areas; others had demanded the new providers provide community services and others had demanded franchise fees on revenues from non-cable services provided by the cable companies.
The FCC has said the moves would speed cable competition, but cities and the state of Hawaii subsequently sued, contending the FCC had no authority over what they can do.
Today a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the FCC, saying the FCC order was “reasonable.”
FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin praised the ruling and said he was hopeful cable competition would be helped.

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