By John Eggerton, Multichannel News, 2-9-23

Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) have reintroduced a bill that would reregulate cable franchise fees.

The Protecting Community Television Act would “clarify” that the 5% cap on a cable franchise fee applies only to monetary “assessments” and not in-kind contributions.

“In 2019, the FCC allowed cable companies to put a price tag on in-kind contributions they provide to communities, including PEG [public, education and government] channels,” said Markey in re-reintroducing the bill.

The bill, first introduced in 2020, was reintroduced in December 2021. Given that the House is now controlled by Republicans, who generally oppose the bill, and that it did not pass when Democrats controlled both Houses, makes its fate likely to match those of the earlier unsuccessful efforts.  » Read More