On September 24th of this year the FCC voted to change section 621(a)(1) of the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984. This section governs a key element of Community Access Television, the Franchise Fee. All towns and municipalities enter into contracts with cable providers to offer the residents television and internet services. For this opportunity the cable providers pay the town 5% of revenues each year, for the use of public way access (i.e. utility poles) for their cables and equipment.
Like most towns in Massachusetts, Wakefield uses this money to support us, your community access station, WCAT. This money allows residents to have access to equipment, expertise, local and government programming, school committee and town council, that you would not see on commercial channels. If this ruling is allowed to stand the town would lose much of this income to new channel fees imposed by the cable companies. Effectively ending our ability to function in the role we have done for the last 25 years. All local event coverage could cease to exist, July 4th parade, sporting events, government meetings and the programming produced by local people.
We are asking everyone, if you want to continue seeing the programming produced in your own community please take three minutes to let the FCC know by commenting to them using the contact information below before November 14th, when the FCC closes public comment on this important ruling. We have attached talking points should you want to use them to help frame your letter.
From all of us at WCAT and all Cable Access Stations, thank you for your help in keeping our doors open.
Wakefield Community Access Television
How you can help.
Go to this Web address for online filing.
put 05-311 into the proceedings field.
It will come up with the title In the Matter of Implementation of Section 621(a) of the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984…….
For postal mail:
Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary
Federal Communications Commission
Office of the Secretary
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554
In the Matter of Implementation of Section 621(a)(1) of the Cable
Communications Policy Act of 1984 as Amended
by the Cable Television Consumer Protection and
Competition Act of 1992
Talking points to consider when writing your comment.
Government meetings and operational transparency
Used for transparency within the community. Citizens can keep up to date with governmental events by watching coverage of meetings and events while not being burdened with taking time from work or family to go and sit in the meeting.
Creative/Educational outlet which gives people access to equipment without having to buy it.
Archiving old town events for future generations to enjoy, as well as a record of past town governmental decisions.
Provide adult classes to help people learn new technologies.
Kids classes to open them to new experiences.
Educational event coverage which would not be covered by mainstream media.
College preparedness for high school students interested in the broadcast industry, practical experience.
Provide public space for town groups to meet and mingle.
Covering programing so residents unable to attend can watch.
Promoting community groups and their messages.
Community access offers communication platform for dialogue, civic engagement and diverse perspectives not available from commercial media.