Open Mike


To FCC's Martin: 'Thanks for nothing'

Editor: When is the FCC going to release its new rules on leased access? LAPers (leased access programmers) have it worse now than before their adoption. I've had to suspend programming at five cable headends due to the uncertainty over how cable is to accept the delivery of our signal.

I'd like to say to the FCC, or perhaps to Chairman Martin: “Thanks for nothing,” or rather “Thanks for making matters worse.” With new rules pending and pending and pending, we can't get cable to talk about matters such as us having to pay them for Internet reception in their headends, when the alternative to having to pay them for it is to have a competitor (Verizon, AT&T or another ISP) install their service there for me. This means cable would have to allow a competitor to install a line and equipment.

With the FCC unwilling to discuss a wide range of matters affecting leased access, it appears I'll either have to pay out money I'll never get back or suspend service until the new rules are released. Quite frankly, I was better off before they were adopted. And the cable industry says the FCC is down on them.

For over 24 years the FCC has not failed, but refused, to obey the wishes of Congress in making sure cable followed the law to provide a “genuine outlet” for LAPers. Now for the past nine weeks, the non-release of new rules has made our lives even worse.

I'm a 70-year-old journalist who started as a printer's devil at age 15. I've been an active Republican, perhaps a little too partisan as a newspaper publisher through the years. I thought until recently Republicans were the ones who made it possible for businesses to provide jobs for others. Now it appears this is only for mega-businesses.

What does it take to find someone at the FCC with some common sense? What will it take to get the new rules released?

Charlie Stogner, President

Leased Access Programmers Association