Cable Advisory Committee
Under Massachusetts regulations, an Issuing Authority ("IA"), such as the mayor of a city or the board of selectmen of a town, may appoint a Cable Advisory Committee ("CAC") to advise the IA throughout the licensing process. 207 C.M.R. § 3.01(3). In many instances, the CAC remains as an active committee throughout the term of the license. Currently, there are over 280 CACs in the Commonwealth. The composition of the CAC is determined by the IA, including the number of members on the CAC.
The IA may, at its discretion, define the role and responsibilities of the CAC to the extent permitted under G.L. c. 166A. Thus, there is almost complete local control as to the tasks assigned to an advisory committee, so long as these tasks do not conflict with the statutory requirements of the IA in G.L. c. 166A. While an IA may delegate to a CAC the authority to negotiate a license agreement, an IA may not delegate authority to execute such an agreement. CAC responsibilities vary according to the current status of the license or the objectives of the IA. The following list includes some typical responsibilities assigned to CACs in the Commonwealth:
- Inform and educate the public about cable television service;
- Assess the cable needs of the community and recommend policy changes;
- Conduct regular meetings with cable company representatives to discuss matters of mutual interest;
- Report to the IA on company compliance with the license;
- Supervise the cable operator's response to complaints;
- Respond to citizen's questions regarding the cable television system; and
- Keep abreast of community programming issues.
CACs are considered "governmental bodies" within the purview of the Massachusetts Conflict of Interest law, G.L. c. 268A.
Recognizing that CACs fulfill an important and valuable link between the IA, the licensee, and the citizens of the community, the Department of Telecommunications and Cable (“Department”) seeks to build positive professional relationships with the CACs. The Department's staff works closely with local committees to educate them on the licensing process and improve information-sharing.
The Department's program includes an informational presentation available to communities. Please contact the Department to schedule a presentation or to discuss any cable licensing matter.
Updated January 2015