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Image of Merlyn Reineke, Executive Director of Montgomerey Community Media

About Merlyn on Media

Merlyn Reineke is Executive Director of Montgomery Community Media, which provides media training and community-based content by-and-for the residents of Montgomery County. Merlyn’s blog focuses on all-things media, with an emphasis on how community-based media can make our county a better place to live, work and play.... Read more

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Act Now to Insist FCC Ensure Cable Operators Support Local PEGs

This could be the biggest threat to public access in history.

The cable television industry is facing huge competition, not just from the likes of DirecTV but from rapidly-deploying new technologies that threaten to suck customers away in droves. Subscribers are ‘cutting the cord’, dumping their cable TV packages and looking for other news & entertainment options.

The cable industry’s response? If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

Comcast, Verizon and the other big players are rolling out new programming and broadband offerings such as ‘Over the Top’ (OTT) video services, and the Federal Communications Commission is encouraging this since it’s positioned as being good for competition.  And who among us doesn’t want more choice and potential cost savings in our homes.

So what’s the problem for public access and other locally-produced community, government and educational programmers?

These new services are beyond the scope of current local cable franchises. Even though OTT and other broadband-delivered programming use the local rights-of-way owned by the citizens of Montgomery County, local public, education and government (PEG) channels like Montgomery Community Media won’t see revenues from these new services like we do today from traditional cable TV services. And if the cable operators are allowed by the FCC to not include support for PEG from these services, the drop in PEG revenues could be steep and swift… and the end of vital local news & information from MCM and PEGs all across the country.

What can be done?

Right now, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is reviewing feedback on how they should proceed with this potential rulemaking. The cable operators have lined up their support and are flooding the FCC with letters. We need to do the same… and fast!

A customized template letter, along with detailed instruction on how to file with the FCC, has been created for your use. It takes just a few minutes to fill out, and can then be used to eFile on the FCC’s website. September is the month the FCC is accepting these letters, so the time to act to preserve unique local services like MCM is now.

Please email me directly at: mreineke@mymcmedia.org, and I will send you the template and filing instructions. Please act now and let your voice be heard, before it’s too late.

Merlyn Reineke

About Merlyn Reineke

Merlyn Reineke is Executive Director of Montgomery Community Media, which provides media training and community-based content by-and-for the residents of Montgomery County.

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