CPUC's cable franchise renewals remain private and privileged

17 December 2017 by Steve Blum
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Cable companies won’t be held publicly accountable for their business practices or service levels by the California Public Utilities Commission. That’s the result of a unanimous vote by commissioners on Thursday.

The CPUC’s semi-independent office of ratepayer advocates (ORA) asked the commission to revisit a 2014 decision that established a perfunctory, closed door review of statewide video franchise renewals. Cable lobbyists sweet talked California lawmakers into ending local franchise authority in 2006, and replacing it with a single, statewide process run by the CPUC.… More

Cable franchise audit finds underpayment, misuse of fees

9 October 2016 by Steve Blum
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Click for the full story.

California cities and counties don’t have much to say about the service cable companies provide and the prices they charge for it. When the state took control of cable franchises with the 2006 Digital Infrastructure and Video Competition Act (DIVCA), local governments were largely pushed out of the regulatory picture.

But not completely. Cities can still collect a franchise fee of up to 5% of gross video revenue and another 1% to pay capital equipment costs for public access channels.… More

If you don't like the way your cable company does business in California, speak up now

7 September 2014 by Steve Blum
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If local governments, advocacy groups and ordinary citizens want to challenge a cable or telephone company’s right to offer video services under statewide authority granted by the California Public Utilities Commission it can be done, but not while a company is trying to renew its franchise.

That was message from several commissioners – Carla Peterman, Mike Florio and Catherine Sandoval – as they reluctantly voted on 28 August 2014 to approval a video franchise renewal process that all but shuts out any opportunity for public scrutiny or challenge.… More

California cable TV franchise renewals still behind closed doors

25 August 2014 by Steve Blum
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Double secret probation.

A bare sliver of light will shine on cable (and telephone) companies when they renew statewide video franchises every 10 years. The California Public Utilities Commission is considering a process that effectively shuts out meaningful public scrutiny of cable companies when they file for renewal. The CPUC’s reasoning is that in writing California’s Digital Information and Video Competition Act, usually referred to as DIVCA, the legislature set a very low bar for granting and, consequently, renewing the statewide video franchises that replaced the original city-by-city and county-by-county process in 2006.… More

Don't expect a chance to challenge California-wide cable franchise renewals

24 June 2014 by Steve Blum
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Stifle yourself.

The first statewide cable franchises issued by the California Public Utilities Commission will start expiring in the next three or four years. Those franchises superseded local video service franchises issued individually by cities and counties and run for ten years. To get ready for that, the commission is scheduled to vote on new renewal rules at its meeting on Thursday, 26 June 2014.

The proposal on the table now says, in essence, the same rules apply to renewals as to the original applications, with one exception: companies that are “in violation of any final nonappealable court order issued pursuant to California video franchise law” will lose their franchises.… More