ERIC Number: ED402921
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Feb-15
Reference Count: N/A
Franchise Fees and Public, Educational and Government (PEG) Access. Report to the Minnesota Legislature.
Minnesota State Dept. of Public Service, St. Paul. Energy Div.
Franchise fees are a tax imposed on a private entity to compensate a municipality for use of a public property for private gain. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 grants municipalities the right to assess a 5% franchise fee to both cable companies and competitors of cable companies, such as operators of open video systems. The Minnesota State Department of Public Service surveyed all municipalities, telephone companies, telecommunication carriers, investor-owned natural gas utilities, investor-owned electric utilities, and cable communications companies in the state of Minnesota to collect data on franchise fee collection and use. The survey identified 209 municipalities that access franchise fees on cable communication companies. Franchise fee collection is the most prevalent with cable companies, which are also required by state law to provide access channels for public, educational, and government (PEG) access. The four technologies capable of delivering subscription video services are standard cable television, open video systems, wireless cable, and direct broadcast satellite. Only standard cable television is both subject to a franchise fee on all gross revenues and is also a technology which is fully compatible with local PEG access requirements. The government must regulate its fee and requirement policy to prevent increased consumer subscription costs and loss of competition among competing technologies, and to maintain current franchise fee revenue and PEG access. The document includes the following sections: (1) Background on Franchise Fees and Public, Educational and Government Fees; (2) Franchise Fees (amount collected, use of franchise fees); (3) PEG Access (PEG programming and viewership); (4) Video Technologies, Franchise Fees, and PEG Access; (5) Recommendations for a State Policy Regarding Franchise Fees and Related Compensation; and (6) Conclusion. (Author/SWC)
Descriptors: Broadcast Television, Cable Franchising, Cable Television, Communications Satellites, Community Programs, Competition, Compliance (Legal), Delivery Systems, Educational Television, Government Role, State Government, State Regulation, State Surveys, Telephone Communications Industry, Telephone Communications Systems, Use Studies, Utilities
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Minnesota State Dept. of Public Service, St. Paul. Energy Div.
Identifiers - Location: Minnesota
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Telecommunications Act 1996