FCC releases rulemaking on reasonable franchising process

The FCC has issued an NPRM that solicits comment on how Section 621(a)(1) of the Communications Act of 1934 should be implemented. Section 621(a)(1) states that “a franchising authority … may not unreasonably refuse to award an additional competitive franchise.” Greater competition in the market for the delivery of multichannel video programming is a primary goal of federal communications policy

Potential competitors seeking to enter the multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD) marketplace have alleged that in many areas the current operation of the local franchising process serves as a barrier to entry. The notice is designed to solicit comment on implementation of Section 621(a)(1)’s directive that local franchise agreements (LFAs) not unreasonably refuse to award competitive franchises, and whether the franchising process unreasonably impedes the achievement of the interrelated federal goals of enhanced cable competition and accelerated broadband deployment and, if so, how the commission should act to address that problem.

For more information, visit www.fcc.gov.

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