NOVEMBER 30, 2018
On September 25, the FCC issued proposed rulemaking (Docket 05-311) that could have a catastrophic impact on SAPA TV and all Public, Educational and Governmental (PEG) cable access channels and community media centers around the country. We are calling on supporters to take a moment to file comments with the FCC expressing your disapproval of their proposed actions. Instructions for filing comments are available on this page. Initial comments had to be filed by November 14, but “Reply Comments” can be filed through December 14 at 11:59 PM.
What’s at stake?
The new FCC rulemaking allows cable companies to assess the value for ‘in kind’ services related to providing PEG channels and deduct that amount from the Franchise Fees passed to municipalities and nonprofits like SAPA TV to run PEG stations and channels. These loosely defined ‘in kind’ costs can include the ‘value’ of the cable channels themselves as well as any other services provided. The FCC fails to set any guidelines or limitations to the values that cable companies can assess, and it’s conceivable that station operating funds could be eliminated.
Here’s how to submit a letter that supports SAPA TV’s opposition to the proposed Rulemaking.
1) Download the template for your letter here. (Instructions to file included) Customize the parts in red and print it on your letterhead with your signature. Letters from organizations are especially important at this stage.
2) Submit your letter as a PDF file to the FCC before 11:59 PM on Friday, December 14.
To file go to https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings
Read the FCC Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Second FNPRM),
Read Comments already filed for RM 05-311
FCC rule change could threaten PEG-TV funding (Rutland Herald)
Media Alliance Article on this FCC Action
A Proposed FCC Rule Change Could Put An End To Local Access TV Stations
FCC is at it again: Proposed changes to benefit big cable, harm local access channels
FCC Rule Change Could Limit Funding for Public Access Programs
In the Cable Act legislation of 1984, Congress established Franchise Fees and PEG Fees as a condition for cable operators providing commercial cable TV services. Franchise fees are often described as ‘rent’ for the commercial access and use to the public right of ways within a municipality. These fees help cover the associated costs to cities from cable TV installations and also help fund other municipal public services. PEG fees can optionally be established by a municipality to provide for the capital equipment necessary to the operations of local PEG channels. Both Franchise and PEG fees are public interest obligations that ensure the commercial media being pumped into residents homes is balanced by meaningful non-commercial locally originated content. Non-commercial PEG channels are unique, they provide an important means of free speech via the public channel, government transparency and communication with residents via the government channel and an educational channel available for use by local schools and universities. It’s important to note that Cable companies do not pay Franchise or PEG fees, these fees are paid by cable subscribers and merely pass through the cable companies to the cities and nonprofits. The new FCC rulemaking will not change the amount currently charged to cable subscribers, it merely allows cable companies to keep this money. The FCC explained that its proposals “are intended to place new entrants and incumbent cable operators on an equal regulatory footing and remove obstacles to the deployment of broadband.”
The FCC’s press release and supporting documents can be found here: https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-seeks-comment-lfas-regulation-cable-operators
Many of the programs aired on SAPA-TV are available for purchase. Please complete the form below, making sure to include your contact information. Orders will take between one and three weeks to complete. We offer programs on DVD and MP4 files that can be downloaded via the web.
Programs on DVD can be mailed anywhere in the U.S. for an additional $2.00.
In an effort cut down on material waste, payment is requested before DVD creation for customers who choose to pick up DVD’s in person. Program DVD’s can be created in about 10 minutes.
SAPA TV accepts cash, checks and credit cards (Paypal). Please make all checks payable to SAPA TV. If paying by credit card you do not need to fill out the DVD Duplication Form
Public Service Announcements are provided free of charge to non-profit organizations located in our viewing area. PSAs will run for two weeks. Ongoing events can be renewed by contacting SAPA-TV.
Please note that we do not run for-profit announcements, nor do we print press releases. We cannot, by law, publicize gambling, even if it is for a non-profit.
Please use the form below or email your event information to email@example.com. You may also fax your PSA if necessary. Our fax number is 885-6258. We do not take PSAs over the telephone.
Community members and businesses can help support SAPA TV in continuing to provide community television to the towns of Springfield, Chester and Weathersfield, Vermont. Your support will help provide the following.
With your support, SAPA TV will be able to continue to be a strong voice in the cable TV viewing community as well be able to provide their voice to a larger viewing audience who view content through other means and technology.
Whether it is through underwriting or individual donation, SAPA TV appreciates your support.
Do you have a video you would like to share with the community? SAPA TV is always looking for creative content to share with its viewers. All videos submitted must be owned and created by the submitter. SAPA TV is not able to play any copyrighted video or music over the air.
You can submit video by DVD or providing a digital download via Vimeo, Dropbox, Google docs or any other suitable video sharing service. Please fill out either the digital or paper application to cable cast at the link below.