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FCC Orders Interpreting Cable Company Fees Vacated

July 12, 2017, 10:19 PM

The Federal Communications Commission failed to explain why cable franchise fees can include cable-related payments under communications law, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held July 12 (Montgomery County v. FCC, 6th Cir., 08-3023/15-3578, 7/12/17).

Two Maryland counties, Montgomery and Anne Arundel, and the Iowa city of Dubuque challenged two FCC orders that established rules for how local governments can regulate cable companies. The counties alleged that the FCC’s interpretation of “franchise fee” to include non-cash and cable-related “exactions” violates the Administrative Procedure Act.

Judge Raymond M. Kethledge said that franchise fees can include noncash...

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