AG Frey lauds court decision upholding Maine law to protect community-run television stations

August 3, 2021

AUGUSTA - The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit upheld a Maine law protecting community-run television stations today. The law was defended in court by the Office of the Attorney General, and the order is attached. In response to the ruling Attorney General Aaron M. Frey released the following statement:

"Community-run television stations provide vital public, educational and governmental programming. They allow Mainers to observe local government proceedings, view school sports and community events, and receive important news and public health and safety information. Unfortunately, cable television operators recently started to make it nearly impossible to find and watch these stations. Maine's legislature responded by enacting a law requiring cable operators to treat community-run television stations the same as the other stations they offer by, for example, including them in their programming guides, showing them in high definition, and not relegating them to the 'digital Siberia' of the 1300 channel range where few viewers venture."

"We are pleased that today, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit rejected every one of the cable television industrys legal arguments and upheld all aspects of the Maine law, including the provision mandating that franchise agreements require cable operators to make service available to areas where there are at least fifteen residences per mile. Community-run television stations are a priceless public resource, and the courts ruling will go far in ensuring their continuing vitality by protecting against marginalization by cable television operators."


Supporting documents

NCTA v. Frey Circuit Court Decision