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NATOA represents the needs and interests of local governments on cable, telecom, rights of way, public safety and interoperability and related matters. NATOA is actively involved in cases before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Federal Courts, Congress and the states. NATOA seeks to ensure that the voice of local governments is heard, and that our position is understood.

On the Hill

Marketplace Fairness Act Introduced in Senate and House

February 22, 2013 10:29 AM
A bipartisan group of 53 Senators and Representatives has introduced legislation that would allow local brick-and-mortar retailers to compete more effectively against out-of-state internet sellers. The Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 would give states the option to require the collection of sales and use taxes already owed under State law by out-of-state businesses.

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FCC Issues of Interest

NATOA Files Comments With FCC Regarding PEG Labeling

July 19, 2013 12:56 PM
NATOA, the National Association of Counties, and the US Conference of Mayors jointly filed comments with the FCC asserting that the Commission has the legal authority to require cable operators to carry PEG programming description information on their on-screen menus in order to increase meaningful access to programming for the blind and visually impaired.  “In order for audible on-screen menus to have functional utility to the visually impaired, the on-screen menu itself should be populated with information that is meaningful and helpful in program selection… . [T]he on-screen menu itself should be populated with information that is meaningful and helpful in program selection.” Simply labeling PEG programming as “local government access” fails to “provide the visually impaired viewer sufficient information to make a meaningful program selection.”

CLICK here to read the comments.   

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Court Actions

Oral Argument Held in City of Arlington, TX v. FCC

June 8, 2011 4:05 PM
Oral argument was heard June 8, 2011 in the case of City of Arlington, TX v. Federal Communications Commission.  The case challenges the FCC’s authority to issue its November 2009 tower siting order, which imposed timeframes within which localities must take action on tower siting applications.  A decision is expected by the end of the year.

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Policy Matters

NATOA Releases Blueprint for Localism in Communications

October 4, 2013 2:55 PM
These are exciting times. We are in the midst of a technological revolution that is fundamentally changing the communications industry. The convergence of increased computing power and Internet Protocol is transforming traditional services like cable and voice into Internet applications and enabling a revolution in mobile communications. As computing power and storage capacity increase, and become less expensive, the pace of change will likely accelerate. These advances have the potential to lead to increased consumer choice and better, more innovative services across a variety of platforms. They will also help local communities provide better services to their residents in more efficient and cost effective ways. 

However, this transition presents serious challenges to the interests of NATOA members and all local communities. As our traditional communications services become applications running over essentially unregulated broadband networks, what will happen to the remaining public interest obligations historically associated with those services? What is the local role in an IP world? What will happen to PEG, consumer protection, ROW management and compensation? These are important questions that we must proactively address today and arrive at solutions that take local interests into account. If we fail to do so we risk allowing powerful forces to shape the future in of IP networks to the detriment of local communities. 

With these issues in mind, NATOA has developed our Blueprint for Localism in Communications. This paper articulates a strong local role for communities in an all IP environment. We urge our members to read it and stay engaged and others to become part of the NATOA family so that we can have a stronger voice as the future of IP and communications policy evolves in our legislatures and at the FCC.

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