Martin Floats Six-Month Franchise Action (1 Viewer)

cablewithaview

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Apr 18, 2005
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DeKalb County, AL
Atlanta -- Local governments might be required under new federal rules to act on video-franchise applications from phone companies within six months, Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin indicated Tuesday at a National Show press conference.

Today, local governments are required to act reasonably with regard to franchise applications, but they do not face any set deadlines to act on them. Martin thinks that open-ended structure needs to change.

“It didn’t mean [a franchise application] had to be granted, but it has to be approved or denied,” said Martin, adding that the idea of time limits surfaced at the FCC’s February public meeting in Keller, Texas.

The commission is conducting a rulemaking to determine whether local governments have been frustrating phone company entry into cable.

Verizon Communications Inc., which acquired a franchise in Keller to compete with Charter Communications Inc., has complained that franchise acquisition takes too long and local governments demand concessions totally unrelated to the provision of video programming.

Martin didn’t say he was wedded to six months as the deadline, only that time constraints would be appropriate.

“I think that’s an example of the kind of thing I think the commission could end up putting parameters around or expectations on as a reasonable action,” Martin said.

http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6324102.html?display=Breaking+News&referral=SUPP&nid=2226
 

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