FCC’s Proposed Rule Could Impact Locals Obtain Cable Programs Access

In News, Technology

The Federal Communications Commission has proposed a new rule that will surely affect the way locals access their local cable TV programs.

Residents have been enjoying their favorite TV shows for years a new FCC ruling is threatening their access to the local cable of local stations. Since the 1980s, cable companies like Comcast has provided communities with free access channels as part of their contracts. The costs have been covered by the franchise fees they pay to the localities.

The FCC’s new recommendation will authorize cable TV firms to establish tenets for public access stations and deduct the costs from the franchise dues which will slash support for the local stations.

Greater Newburyport Community Media Hub executive director Sarah Hayden said, “Local TV was started to make sure that people have freedom of speech and to make sure corporations don’t own the airwaves, but what’s happening is that the cable companies don’t want local media,” she said. “They don’t want people to have access to local information, to stay informed and be engaged citizens.”

Greater Newburyport Community Media Hub (NCM) is previously known as PortMedia. Every year, Comcast provides the City of Newburyport 4.3% of its gross cable earnings and 3.6%, equivalent to nearly $82,000 every quarter. The amount will offset salaries, rent, and massive equipment bills for NCM Hub. If the financial support for the NCM Hub will be curbed, the studio will struggle and try to continue until it can no longer sustain.

The NCM Hub broadcasts locally, regionally, and nationally on channels 8, 9, and 98. It includes contents regarding local government and school meetings and a multitude of other educational and community-inspired TV shows. Hayden sent emails to Democrat Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA) regarding the FCC’s proposed ruling. In case the measure is fostered, it is hoped that consumers will be charged with honest rates that will empower local stations to remain operational.

The FCC will also take on spam texts that could provide more authorizations to telecom firms over messaging. The commission unveiled its plans to officially categorize text messaging as an information service. It will be a lawful earmark that will become the answer to countering spam text messages. The categorization will enable telecom companies to keep on utilizing blocking technology to discontinue spam messages from reaching devices.

However, a few consumer proponents have pressed on the agency to rather categorize text messaging as a telecom service. Devoid of classification, telecom firms will have the capability to discriminate against messages. Besides, they could conclude when and how to discharge texts in ways these companies can impair consumers and free speech.

The decision to classify text messaging has been unresolved for years. The FCC informed that telecom companies have already applied filtering and its decision will “restore and bolster the legitimate infrastructure  for the consumer-friendly filtering.”

Further, the agency declared that it would establish a database of consigned telephone numbers. It would provide business organizations the ability to monitor if the phone number was already used before as Public Knowledge pointed out. The two propositions are set for a vote during the FCC meeting this coming December.

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