WASHINGTON— Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) today introduced the “Cable Transparency Act,” which would create new opportunities for cable operators and franchise authorities to amend or terminate their franchise agreements without a lengthy process, creating more competition and lower consumer costs. This bill is included in the Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans’ Broadband Infrastructure Package.
“Oklahoma’s Second District is the only congressional district in the country where broadband is available to less than half the population and with the COVID-19 pandemic, access to broadband has become more important than ever,” Mullin said. “Right now, the cable franchising process is incredibly long and burdensome, which leads to higher costs and prevents more companies from entering the market. This legislation will streamline the process and make it more transparent, resulting in more investment and lower consumer costs. I am proud to introduce this bill as part of a package to improve access to broadband and help close the digital divide.”
"More than 21 million Americans could not access broadband before COVID-19, and the pandemic has made even more clear how vital these services are as Americans work, learn, and receive health care from home. I appreciate Rep. Mullin's leadership in introducing the Cable Transparency Act. Republicans are leading the way to close the digital divide for all Americans," Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden said.
The “Cable Transparency Act” would:
Amend the Cable Act to provide that a cable franchise remains in place until terminated by either the cable operator or the franchising authority. A cable operator may petition the franchising authority for elimination or amendment of a franchise agreement, which is deemed granted within 120 days if the franchising authority does not approve or deny the petition within such time. This deemed grant would not apply to petitions for the elimination or modification to a requirement for services relating to public, education, or governmental access.
Establish conditions under which a cable operator or franchising authority could terminate the franchise. A cable operator would be able to terminate the franchising authority by providing 90 days’ notice to the franchising authority. A franchising authority would be able to terminate a cable franchise only when they have made a finding that the cable operator has knowingly and willfully failed to substantially meet a requirement imposed by the franchise, the cable operator has been afforded a reasonable opportunity to cure the alleged violation, and the franchising authority has not waived the noncompliance of a cable operator.