The FCC is considering a proposal to clarify the legal limits on the amount of local franchising fees that can be charged to cable operators. Some local governments have evaded the limits by charging fees for access to public rights-of-way on top of the five percent franchise fee they are permitted to charge cable operators.
The Commission should stop such wrongful duplication of fees – which ultimately redound to the detriment of residential and business consumers in the locality.
The Commission should declare that rights-of-way fees are within the scope of the Cable Act's five percent cap on franchising fees that may be imposed on cable operators. This is important because cable operators are also broadband Internet service providers. Limiting excessive cable franchise fees will free up financial resources for investment in deployment of next-generation networks.