FCC vote could cut local community access television channels

In less than 24 hours, the Federal Communications Commission is expected to vote on a rule change that could have a big impact on how people watch their community TV access channels.

The FCC is expected to vote Thursday on adopting a new rule that would allow major cable companies like Comcast or Verizon to put a value on local access channels and subtract that amount from franchise fees they pay to communities.

Cable companies have traditionally offered public access channels that often air unedited government meetings as a part of their contracts with cities and towns, like Marshfield.

"It's not just the community media center it's everything from the person who comes in that wants to create programming about their community all the way to the nonprofit who comes in and does a public service announcement with us," Jonathan Grabowksi, executive director for Marshfield Community Television.

Students at Plymouth North High School are getting hands-on training through the student-run Plymouth North News, which is broadcast out of the state-of-the-art facility.

"Programs like this are what make a difference in a school, this isn't a typical core curriculum class but that's the type of thing that you really need to have a really well-rounded education," said student Cady Nessralla.

Those students are hoping their program doesn't get cut.

"I've learned so much more about talking to adults talking to other students in school, communication skills," said student Cy Belltran.

If the FCC approves the vote, changes could take effect as early as mid-December. If you'd like to voice your opinion to the FCC, you have until midnight.