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Subcommittee Hearing on Public, Educational, and Governmental (PEG) Access for Cable

By saveaccess
Created 09/17/2008 - 10:11am

The following link is scheduled to provide a live look at this morning's subcommittee meeting on PEG: [1]


Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government Hearing on Public, Educational, and Governmental (PEG) Access for Cable Television

The Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government will hold a hearing on public, educational, and governmental (PEG) access for cable television on September 17, 2008. The hearing will explore whether PEG programming is in danger of declining or disappearing in our communities as a result of cable television’s current regulatory and business environment.

The Communications Act allows local franchising authorities to require cable companies to provide channels for PEG access. These local authorities may also require cable operators to provide services, facilities, or equipment in support of PEG broadcasting. The intent of this law is to make PEG programming available, at a minimum, to all basic cable subscribers in a community.

Communities and PEG broadcasters around the nation are facing challenges created by technological changes, requirements from cable operators, and new regulatory approaches. For example, a recent Federal Communications Commission report and order on cable franchising changes the terms by which local cable franchising authorities can establish cable operator obligations for PEG programming. These changes could make it harder to require that cable operators help local governments or colleges operate TV production studios, for example.

The shift to digital broadcasting also creates new challenges and opportunities. Some cable operators are moving PEG channels to digital early, which makes it impossible for viewers who still receive analog-only signals to receive the channels (unless they rent or buy converter equipment). Another idea is to move PEG channels to a single “on demand” type channel, which makes the channels more difficult to view and would result in the loss of some functionality such as closed captioning.

PEG programming is essential to our communities as an outlet for free speech, local information and opinions, and emergency communications. This hearing will help policy makers gain knowledge of what is necessary to protect this important programming.

Possible witnesses:

Federal Communications Commission (Monica Shah Desai, Chief of the Media Bureau)
PEG broadcaster
Public interest organization
Company representative
Industry trade association

Date: September 17, 2008
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: 2220 Rayburn

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