The Commission's proposed order implements the statutory limits on LFAs in four key respects:
1) By including
"in-kind" contributions charged by LFAs in exchange for video franchises within the 5% cap on franchise fees;
By concluding that the regulatory jurisdiction of LFAs over video franchising cannot be used to regulate most non-cable services provided over "mixed-use" cable networks, including broadband Internet access services;
3) By preempting any LFA-imposed fees or taxes on cable operators that exceed the Section 622(b) cap as well as any franchising requirements for providing non-cable services through cable networks; and
applying limits regarding LFA actions at the state level and to state regulatory requirements on local franchising.
Free State Foundation President Randolph May and I have previously written about the Commission's Section 621 proceeding and its proposed order in
submitted to the FCC, which the agency cites in its draft order, and also in a
. We urged the Commission to shore up its "in-kind" contribution and "mixed-use" rules and to expressly apply limits on LFAs to the state-level franchising authorities.
The Commission's proposed Section 621 order is important, and it is commendable. It is faithful to the law, it will keep LFA and state-level franchising actions within proper boundaries, and it's hospitable to encouraging investment and deployment of next-generation broadband services.