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Oregon City Appeals FCC Order Limiting Cable Franchise Fees

Aug. 30, 2019, 8:52 PM

Eugene, Ore. is asking the Ninth Circuit to undo a Federal Communications Commission order limiting cable-franchising fees that local governments can impose on cable companies.

Comcast Corp. and other cable companies are allowed under the order to subtract the cost of offering public-access channels and other in-kind services from a 5% percent franchise fee that local governments can charge cable operators. The order also prevents local franchising authorities from regulating broadband internet services offered by cable operators.

The city argues that the agency’s Aug. 1 order is unconstitutional. Spiegel & McDiarmid LLP in Washington, D.C. filed the challenge on the city’s behalf Aug. 30 with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Federal communications law allows local cable franchising authorities to charge franchise fees that are capped at 5% of a cable company’s gross revenues. Some local governments also require cable operators to make so-called in-kind contributions, such as offering free educational programming or cable discounts for seniors, in addition to the 5% franchise fee.

The case is City of Eugene, Oregon v. FCC, 9th Cir., No. 19-72219, petition for review filed 8/30/19.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jon Reid in Washington at jreid@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Keith Perine at kperine@bloomberglaw.com

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