Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Local Governments Will Fight Cable Modem Ruling

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Local Governments Will Fight Cable Modem Ruling

Article excerpt

The National of League Cities has formed a new alliance with other groups representing local government interests to effectively address the Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) tentative ruling that cable-modem service is an interstate information service as opposed to a cable service.

The newly formed Alliance of Local Organizations Against Preemption (ALOAP) is being created by local government groups to strengthen the ability to fight these decisions before the courts and the FCC. NLC has been joined by the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors, National Association of Counties, U.S. Conference of Mayors and the International Municipal Lawyers Association.

In the wake of the FCC decision, the six largest cable companies (Time Warner, AT&T, Comcast, Charter, Adelphia and Cox) have sent letters to local franchise authorities advising that they are immediately halting payment of cable franchise fees on cable modem revenues. The local government associations expect battles both in the courts and before the FCC.

The FCC's characterization of cable modem service as an interstate information service has a number of consequences. Local governments are particularly concerned because the decision sets up challenges to local government authority to recover franchise fees and provide consumer protection and rights-of-way management with respect to cable modem service.

The importance of this decision and its adverse impact on local governments is significant. …

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