Local Government Groups Continue to Challenge Federal Communications Commission Order

Article excerpt

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published in the Federal Register an announcement of the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) approval of the portion of the FCC video franchising order requiring local franchise authorities to process franchise applications filed by new entrants within a 90- or 180-day time frame.

OMB approved this "information collection" portion of the FCC order over the objections of NLC and other local government organizations. With this publication, all provisions of the FCC's December 20, 2006, video franchising order are now in effect.

Some local governments are starting to receive video franchise applications from new service providers demanding that the local franchising authority approve or deny their request within the new time frames--90 days for applicants already granted access to the rights-of-way or 180 days for applicants not currently granted access to the rights-of-way--or making demands based on other provisions of the FCC's order related to such as franchise fees, channels and public, educational and government channels.

The city of Arvada, Colo., for example, received a video franchise application from Qwest Communications the same day as the Federal Register publication. Qwest is demanding that the city accept or deny its application within 90 days.

Although the order is in effect, the underlying litigation in which the local government organizations are asking the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to undo the FCC's December 20 decision is still pending, and several important updates occurred in the case just last month. …