In 2006, the major telephone companies have been trying to ram or sneak through laws to implement their version of cable television, and doing so in such a way as to weasel their way out of public service obligations -- through state or national video franchises (as opposed to how it's done now with local and municipal franchises). In this way, they don't have to allot any channels to public access (like Chicago's own CAN TV, which airs Chicago Indymedia's TV show), or what's called PEG channels (public, educational, government).
Big Telecom failed so far at trying to get anything passed at the Federal level, thanks to the organizing and outreach efforts of lots of people across the United States (and here in Chicago as well). But Big Telecom is trying to get a ruling in its favor rammed through in the next week (before a Democrat-party-led Congress takes power in January) at the Federal Communications Commission.
An emergency appeal for responding to the FCC is being called for by the Alliance for Community Media. If you value public access television (that includes CAN TV, which airs Democracy Now!, Chicago Indymedia's own "Chicago Independent Television", Illanoyze, and host of other locally produced content), please take a moment to visit the ACM's website to learn how you can help:
A call or response to the FCC can make a big difference, and has in recent initiatives in the past. The deadline for response is December 13, with an FCC meeting scheduled for December 20. Quick action is needed and would be most appreciated.
Thanks for all that you do.