Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/06/07

California PUC Elects to Not Fully Implement Cable Legislation AB 2987
by Ron Cooper

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has rejected the oversight role the CA Legislature thought it had mandated in AB 2987. In a perfunctory vote, the state PUC rejected the protests of California cities and consumer groups, deciding against any direct oversight of the state’s new statewide video-service franchises for phone and cable companies. PEG access provisions of the bill are now threatened. —>

The FCC’s Competitive Franchising Order: 109 Pages of Posterior Protection
by Jon Kreucher
Blogging Broadband

—> The FCC was well aware that it was picking up a hornets’ nest on this issue. Not only has it come under attack from local governments, but it has also been subjected to a significant amount of oversight by Capitol Hill in recent weeks. As a consequence, it appears that the Commission’s Republican majority used the intervening 75 days between vote and publication wisely. A significant portion of the 109 page Order is devoted to covering the Commission’s posterior: Much is made of the Commission’s legal authority to enter the Order, for example, and other portions of the Order seem watered down, as they provide no more clarity on the issues than was already available from reading the Cable Act and relevant FCC orders. —>

Public media center a place to get started
by Kevin Clerici
Ventura County Star

Leaders of local public access programming say there has never been a better time to get started, pointing to their new $2.24 million public media center on Day Road in Ventura. The 6,800-square-foot center has three times the space of a former facility nearby, offering a studio, quality equipment and editing facilities and, perhaps most importantly, training and assistance. —>,1375,VCS_251_5398097,00.html

Fortuna makes its TV debut
by Jessie Faulkner
The Times-Standard (CA)

FORTUNA — The City Council made its first prime-time broadcast appearance Monday, with live airing of the meeting on Access Humboldt’s cable channel 10, an event that kicked off with a procession of gratitude from young audience members. —>

Proposed bill would eliminate cable franchise fees
by Rep. Libby Jacobs
House District 60 (IA)

—> I would expect cable providers in the state will put up strong opposition to the bill. Cities, which fear the loss of revenue from franchise fees and the loss of control over the service in their cities, will also have issues. One of their main concerns will be the build-out of services to underserved areas. Since this bill has ramifications for consumers I expect quite a bit of debate on this topic. Join us at our forum Saturday March 10 at the Clive City Hall from 10 a.m. to noon

Cable, AT&T battle shifts from Capitol to airwaves
by John Rodgers
Nashville City Paper

The battle between AT&T and the cable industry concerning television-franchising rights has turned into a political campaign-style air war. It’s no longer just consuming much of the oxygen among lobbyists and lawmakers in the state Legislature, but the telecom feud has spread to the television airwaves where the two sides are taking their message to Tennesseans, hoping the power of the people can sway legislators to one side or the other. —>

Digging Out of the Digital Divide
Scholar and entrepreneur Randal Pinkett discusses how far America still must go to achieve technological equality.
by Peter Galuszka
Diverse Issues in Higher Education

DI: A lot of the broadband providers have been accused of cherry picking. They want greater profits so they tend to wire up the more affluent areas first. A lot of cities, including Philadelphia, have launched wireless projects. What do you think of municipal efforts to improve access to technology?

RP: I refer to [what private companies are doing] as digital redlining. As more advanced networks and services are being deployed, certain companies are being selective in terms of where they choose to deploy those networks and those services first. The public policy case has been made and people understand the value of equitable distribution. But we need to hold the telecommunication companies’ feet to the fire to ensure that equitable distribution. It is on people’s radar, but the issue is enforcing it. They have to make sure that some communities aren’t being bypassed. —>

Tooele City signs new cable agreement with Comcast
by Mark Watson
Tooele Transcript Bulletin (UT)

—> With the new contract, Tooele City would have the capability to run its own television station if it wanted, and could tap into a channel for emergency broadcasts. According to Bayly, Comcast would offer some help to the city to set up a television station, but he said that decision would be left to the city council. City leaders would need to decide if they wanted to spend extra money to offer a TV channel to televise council meetings, for example. —>

Cities reach joint cable agreement
Council discusses possible public access channel
by Jenette Sturges (IL)

The City of Urbana voted to create an agreement with the City of Champaign to jointly negotiate cable franchises with Insight Communications on Monday night. Once agreed upon by both cities, the agreement would allow the cities to hire an outside consulting firm, Moss & Barnett, to negotiate with Insight. Champaign is expected to vote on the agreement tonight. One question raised by the council was the question of negotiating for one channel devoted to public access television. Urbana currently operates a public access channel, UPTV on Insight channel six. Champaign does not have a public access channel. —>

Rep. Fritchey on abortion and much more: Cable and Streaming
by Jeff Berkowitz
Public Affairs (IL)

The “Public Affairs,” cinema page gives you a choice of more than twenty-five episodes of “Public Affairs,” to watch on your computer including this week’s suburban show with Rep. Fritchey. The cinema page also has next week’s suburban show with Rep. Hamos and recent shows with Ralph Martire, Ald. Berny Stone, Cook County Commissioner Forrest Claypool [D-Chicago], Sen. Garrett [D-Lake Forest], Sen. Syverson [R-Rockford], Metropolitan Planning Council President MarySue Barrett, Phantom of the City Council–Brendan Reilly, State Rep. Paul Froehlich, Eric Zorn-Dan Proft, John McCarron, Gery Chico, former State Sen. Steve Rauschenberger, Chicago Mayoral Candidate Dorothy Brown [D] and State Rep. Julie Hamos [D-Evanston], as well as interviews, discussions or remarks with or by U. S. Senators John McCain and Barack Obama, former NYC Mayor Rudy Giulianiand many, many more pols on our video podcast page[Go Here to Watch the Shows on your computer; you can drag the dial on the bottom of the screen to watch only portions of the thirty minute shows].


Telecoms get a break with new FCC franchise rules
by Eric Bangeman
Ars Technica

Fast-tracked negotiations and cherry-picking. Contentious talks with town and city governments would become a thing of the past for AT&T, should the FCC’s rules survive the expected challenge. Negotiations would be capped at 90 days, and if the telecoms and franchising authorities can’t come to an agreement within that time frame, a franchise would automatically granted. Municipalities will also have a harder time preventing telecoms from limiting their service to desirable neighborhoods and communities. The FCC’s rules will preempt local level-playing-field laws, as telecoms would no longer have to agree to what the Commission describes as “unreasonable build-out requirements.” Instead, video providers would have much more freedom to selectively deploy their new fiber networks. —>

FCC’s Video-Franchise Order Garners Mixed Reception
TelecomWeb News break

—> The 100-plus-page document comes 75 days after the FCC approved the rules late last year. So far, there hasn’t been any blowback from the telecom industry, but local governments look likely to mount a legal challenge to the order, with The National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA) retaining legal counsel in January. A spokeswoman for the National League of Cities, which is working with NATOA, said the staff currently is reviewing the document. Mayor Ken Fellman of Arvada, Colo., says, “I have big concerns about local control. The FCC went great lengths to explain why they have the legal authority to do this. Clearly, they’re overstepping their authority.” —>

Tarpon Springs leaves residents in the dark
by St. Petersburg Times

There is a reason Tarpon Springs has failed to make good use of its government access television channel. The city’s explanation has been that the city staff already is spread thin, and upgrading equipment to permit more programming on Channel 15 would be expensive. However, some who say Tarpon Springs City Hall is less than hospitable to its residents suggest the blank blue screen that appears on Channel 15 most of the time is just another way of keeping residents in the dark. —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: cable vs telco, community media, FCC, municipal programming, PEG access TV, public access television, redlining, user-generated content, video franchising

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