Public, Educational and Government (PEG) access television channels are under increasing pressure from channel-hungry cable operators, and state legislatures and federal agencies aren’t helping much, so their association, American Community Television, plans to make its case on Capitol Hill and on the 8th Floor of The Portals in Washington, where the five FCC commissioners can be found.
The group even has a bill to push – Tammy Baldwin’s (D-WI) HR 3745 Community Access Preservation Act. They will be discussing it with various members of Congress.
During their visits to the FCC, they will be talking up PEG’s importance to promoting the core FCC goal of localism, and urging the Commission to use upcoming rulemakings and requests for comment to protect the service.
“We’ve been in discussion for some time about what is needed,” said ACT President John Rocco. “PEG television is an important part of our democracy, especially in the face of media consolidation and the loss of localism in media. It is critical that these television stations be protected.”
Rocco added, “For over forty years, PEG access television has been the voice of the local community. There are over 1,500 PEG access centers in this country and, for many communities, these channels are the only source of local information. We’re watching an all-out assault on PEG by the cable industry and if we don’t stand up and fight, we will lose these valuable channels.”
ACT explained the need for urgency, saying in a statement, “PEG access centers have been closed in Indiana, Illinois and California after state franchising laws were passed and funding was reduced or eliminated. Additionally, access channels have been slammed off the basic tier into the digital tier, well ahead of subscriber digital adoption, or not carried as full channels on the system, as is the case with AT&T’s U-verse application. The CAP Act would address many of these issues.”