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A Proposed FCC Rule Change Could Put An End To Local Access TV Stations

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Marshfield Community Television's facilities offer two studios and an edit suite to residents. The facility and staff are supported by fees collected by cable companies which may be cut under a proposed FCC rule.
Marshfield Community Television

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering a new rule that community television groups in Massachusetts and elsewhere say would largely strip them of funding for public and educational channels, also known as "local access cable."

Much of what viewers see on local access channels is supported by the fees that cable giants include in their bills. The FCC proposal would allow cable companies to limit the fees they collect for community programming, which local access channels say would gut their funding.

Jonathan Grabowski. Marshfield Community Television director, says the proposed FCC rule would be devastating to community media, and many of the 250 community media centers in the state would be forced to shut down or make drastic cuts if the change goes through.

"They’re going to have to cut staffing, support for town government and schools," he said. "It’s also going to create massive deductions in support that these centers give to their members in regard to training and the ability to access state-of-the-art equipment."

What's motivating the proposed rule change?

"It’s money," said Grabowski. "It really comes down to money."

Grabowski said he wrote to the FCC opposing the rule change. The public has until Wednesday to comment on the proposal.

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