Regulatory Advice on Cable and Telecommunications Are NATOA's Specialties

Article excerpt

The National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA) plays a unique role in providing ongoing, specialized cable regulatory and telecommunications advice as an affiliate of NLC.

As a guiding instrument in making policy and regulatory decisions, NATOA relies on its annually reviewed and adopted Advocacy Platform. The detailed document addresses many telecommunications issues, including the following: the regulation of cable communications services; federal/local jurisdiction over telecommunications; rate regulation; channel placement, tiering and broadcast signal carriage; public, educational, and governmental (PEG) access; leased access; consumer protection and customer service; technical standards and issues; spectrum allocation; franchise fees; renewal of cable franchises; transfers and trafficking of cable systems; concentration of ownership and vertical integration; competition; multiple franchises; and, telco entry.

Throughout its Advocacy Platform NATOA realizes that telecommunications is critical to local infrastructure. Telecommunications systems, including cable communications, are the major vehicle for the rapid exchange and dissemination of information, and can help serve important local economic development, public information, and consumer protection goals, as well as facilitate local government service functions such as traffic management, transportation energy and education. Communications systems are a vital part of the local infrastructure, like transportation, sewer, and water systems. For local communities, the existence of an affordable locally responsive, modern communications infrastructure means efficient access to information, increased productivity, and new economic development opportunities.

Solutions to many major municipal problems typically carry a telecommunications component. Thus, the need for high quality telecommunications by and among local governments and all segments of the community must be addressed and included in local planning. A local government role in all telecommunications markets should be preserved to ensure that local needs are met, and that equitable and consistent requirements for fees, facilities and standards are established in the public interest.

NATOA supports the development of advance telecommmunications systems. These systems promise to promote new services and may also lead to competitive telecommunications markets in some areas (but not all). …