NYC Pols Oppose Franchise Bill

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New York -- The New York City Council Wednesday unanimously approved a resolution urging Congress to reject proposed legislation that would restrict or eliminate local video franchising at the community level.

“It was great to see the city make a strong stand for the cities and towns across the country,” said Michael Max Knobbe, executive director of Bronxnet, one of several local-access-television organizations in the city’s five boroughs, after attending the council meeting here. A council press representative said the vote was 50-0.

Public-access-television organizations are concerned that national franchises will lead to diminished support for and eventual elimination of their cable channels.

Community groups in New York also testified that they were concerned that without local franchises, low-income neighborhoods might be less likely to receive new broadband services as they are introduced by cable and telephone companies.

They specifically cited H.R. 5252, introduced by Rep. Joe Barton (R.-Texas), referring to it by its proposed title: the Communications, Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act, or COPE.