Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/19/07

Hearing Set on Video Franchising Bill
Political Tidbits (WI)

The Assembly Energy and Utilities Committee will hold a public hearing March 27 on the “Video Competition Act,” as unveiled by Rep. Phil Montgomery and Sen. Jeff Plale. Montgomery chairs the Assembly committee and Plale chairs the Senate Commerce, Utilities and Rail Committee which will likely have jurisdiction in the Senate. —>

City tenants gain new tool: TV
by George W. Rhodes
The Sun Chronicle (MA)

ATTLEBORO – Tenants of the more than 400 units of public housing in the city will soon have a new way to keep tabs on the latest happenings in the Attleboro Housing Authority, the state funded entity that acts as their landlord. The city public access cable television station, now known as DoubleACS, confirmed plans this week to record the monthly AHA meetings and rebroadcast them at regular intervals on Channel 15. Production assistant Anne Marie Nicholson said the move has been approved by the DoubleACS board and is awaiting approval by the AHA. —>

City Councilor Walter Thibodeau requested the coverage as a way to improve communication between tenants and the AHA. About 75 percent of the 430 AHA units are occupied by the elderly or disabled who may not be able to get to the meetings easily. —>

Cable TV Bill Cuts Counties’ Revenue
by Carl Orth
The Suncoast News (FL)

—> Not only might the county lose franchise fee revenue, it might have to start paying to broadcast its public meetings and other programming, Sumner said. Both Bright House and Verizon chip in $200,000 toward the gear to broadcast the meetings as a condition of their franchise agreements. The companies also set aside three public-access channels. The state legislation, if passed in its current form, might allow the providers to take back at least one of those channels, Sumner said.

Similar legislation was defeated in 2006, said County Commissioner Jack Mariano, who lobbied against a statewide franchise. This year, however, “the momentum is there to pass the bill,” Sumner said. The best Pasco probably can hope for is to attach an amendment to the bill that would exempt existing county franchises, Sumner said. Verizon and Bright House then would be obligated to uphold their local contracts until they expire.

In the meantime, county commissioners voted to send a resolution voicing their displeasure to state lawmakers. Other counties and the Florida Association of Counties have done much the same thing.

Locals Fight AT&T Franchise Push in Illinois
State versus local control…
by Karl
Broadband Reports

We’ve discussed at length the battles between AT&T and local towns in Illinois who’ve been annoyed at AT&T’s refusal to adhere to the local franchise system as they deploy IPTV. Some towns have been annoyed by the placement of large AT&T VDSL cabinets, some are concerned primarily about revenue and others don’t like that AT&T will be ignoring build-out requirements (see our interview with Peter Collins, Geneva, IL, IT chief).

AT&T is lobbying state lawmakers hard for a state-level franchise that will make ignoring these local concerns perfectly legal. A number of states have now passed similar franchise laws, driven by the promise that the changes will result in lower TV prices as the telcos rush to compete with cable providers. Localities, however, note that if the telcos are allowed to cherry pick only the most profitable areas, the promised competition may arrive for only a few.

“It’s not about competition,” says Geneva’s assistant city administrator, Mary McKittrick, to the local papers. “It’s about companies bullying their way into the marketplace. It’s about eminent domain; it’s about not committing to universal coverage.” —>

City leaders fear effects of cable bill
Deal with Mediacom might become moot.
by Matthew LeBlanc
Columbia Tribune (MO)

A measure that would allow the state to control local cable TV franchise agreements has Columbia leaders upset. For nearly two years, city officials have worked to negotiate a franchise agreement with cable provider Mediacom that would force the company to pay for things such as local access channels and the use of property for cable lines.

But last week, state lawmakers passed a bill that effectively would render moot any agreement that comes out of the ongoing talks. The bill, which was passed overwhelmingly last week in the Missouri House, allows cable and telephone companies to negotiate the terms of franchise agreements directly with the state. —>
compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: community media, municipal programming, PEG access TV, public access television, redlining, video franchising

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