FCC finalizes "90 day rule" for local franchising

The FCC finalized rules it adopted in December that prohibited "franchising authorities from unreasonably refusing to award competitive franchises for the provision of cable services," according to the agency's statement. The ruling addresses several "unreasonable" practices by the local franchising authorities, especially when it comes to dealing with telcos looking to enter the space with IPTV offerings:

  • Drawn-out local negotiations with no time limits; unreasonable build-out requirements
  • Unreasonable requests for "in-kind" payments that attempt to subvert the five percent cap on franchise fees
  • and Unreasonable demands with respect to public, educational and government access (or "PEG")

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said in a statement: "Such unreasonable requirements are especially troubling because competition is desperately needed in the video market. As we just found, from 1995 to 2005, cable rates have risen 93 percent. In 1995 cable cost $22.37 per month. Last year, cable cost $43.04 per month. Today's Communications Daily reports that prices for expanded basic are now about $50 per month. The trend in pricing of cable services is of particular importance to consumers. Since 1996 the prices of every other communications service have declined while cable rates have risen year after year after year."

For more on the landmark ruling:
- see this press release from the FCC
- check out this statement from Chairman Martin