The Federal Communications Commission is having one productive month. They’re already setting the stage to completely destroy net neutrality next month, and now the commission is proposing a vote to begin reconsidering the broadcast ownership cap. Depending on what the FCC decides next year, the commission may lead to allowing a lot more consolidation of local TV stations, meaning fewer independent voices. Right now, the FCC has what’s called the “national TV ownership rule.”
The “national TV ownership rule” basically prevents one company from owning broadcast TV stations that reach more than 39 percent of the US households. Because of some loopholes, broadcaster currently are able to already reach more than 39 percent of households. The FCC is looking to scrap this loophole and just raise the cap. If raising the cap isn’t applicable, then the commission may just get rid of this altogether.
FCC chairman Ajit Pai is a skeptic when it comes the need for an ownership cap in 2017. He argues that there is no need to have these in place and that because of access to internet, news is already reaching huge audiences as it is. He essentially wants to scrap the rule in its entirety.
The outcome of this will depend on FCC’s proposal. It will be voted on December 14th at FCC’s meeting, and the public will be able to comment on it for several months. The commission will then release a final proposal sometime next year.