To: Federal Communications Commission
I am writing to submit my comments in response to the FCC’s “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” 05-311 on “video franchising”. As a resident of Arlington, Massachusetts and supporter of Comcast Channel 8 and Arlington Studio I am writing in support of local video franchising.
The local franchising process ensures that my community’s needs are served through its allocation of money, channels, and facilities that make Public, Educational, and Government access television and other public services possible. Channel 8 not only serves our English-speaking residents, it also provides an important outlet for our multilingual and ethnic communities. “Hola Arlington” (Spanish programming for children), “Orale con Veronica”, the Greek Church Service, and other locally produced programming gives members of my community, who have been largely underserved by the commercial cable channels, the opportunity to be seen, heard, and ensured an equal voice through PEG access. These programs bring people in my town together through having the ability to watch, listen, and learn from one another. The local franchising process makes this possible.
As the FCC has stated in the NPRM 05-311, the video franchising process also helps to “assure that access to cable service is not denied to any group of potential residential cable subscribers because of the income of the residents of the local area in which such group resides”. Along with this important civil protection and consumer right, the local franchising process allows my town to hold our cable service providers accountable for charging unreasonable rates.
Finally, I support local video franchising because it provides the opportunity, through PEG access television, for residents in my town to become more empowered as creative producers, critical thinkers, and active citizens. Comcast Channel 8 and Arlington Studio help my community acquire the tools, skills, and knowledge to become more active participants in our media and democratic process.
For these reasons, I strongly urge the FCC to continue its support for local video franchising.