Why do we pay a PEG Fee on our Cable Bill?
Channel 17/Town Meeting Television operates Channel 17 on Comcast and Burlington Telecom and Channel 317 on Burlington Telecom. We also air programming on ch17.tv and on YouTube Channel 17/Town Meeting Television.
Our primary mission is to cover public meetings and events for Burlington, South Burlington, Essex, Essex Junction, Winooski, Williston, and Colchester. We offer free training and equipment upon request. We will also air public issues programs submitted by the public. This work is funded by local government contributions and through franchise fees paid by local cable subscribers, as a percentage of their cable TV bills.
The State of Vermont requires public access channels and franchise fees from cable operators in exchange for those company’s use of the public rights of way. Cable operators choose to pass these fees on to their cable subscribers.
The state’s authority to require channels and fees is based on Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984. The Cable Act is the national mandate that requires both regulators and cable operators to encourage the growth of cable systems, respond to community needs and interests, and assure the widest possible diversity of information sources through the regulation of cable television franchises in exchange for cable company’s use of the public rights-of-way - public utility poles and underground access.
Since 1984, the State of Vermont (through the Vermont Public Utility Commission) has required Vermont cable operators to provide public, educational, and government (PEG) access channels 5% of cable subscriber revenue to be used for operating these channels through access management organizations (also known as community media centers; and, .5% to be set aside for capital purchases for channel playback hardware, studios, cameras and the materials needed to record, produce and distribute community content.
As a result of Vermont Government’s firm commitment to PEG access, Vermonters benefit from a thriving network of 25 access management organizations that put $8.7 million of cable subscriber dollars to work, producing more than 18,000 hours of original local programs each year--many of which are government meetings which are streamed live--and employing 78 full time and 101 part time staff.
In Channel 17/Town Meeting TV’s viewing area, the 5% franchise fees are split three ways by Channel 17, RETN and VCAM to provide community media services to the community.
If you have any questions about Channel 17/Town Meeting TV or how your franchise fees are spent, please contact us directly. Meghan O’Rourke, our Channel Director, morourke 'at' cctv.org will be happy to respond.