Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/20/07

Cable competition could be on way
Iowa Press Citizen
Associated Press

DES MOINES — The state could grant a statewide cable television franchise under a measure approved today by the Senate.   —>

AT&T, communities battle over television franchising
Riverside manager says deal could harm Network 6
Riverside Brookfield Landmark (IL)
by Alex McLeese

Municipalities around the state, including Riverside, are up in arms about AT&T-backed House Bill 1500, also known as the Cable and Video Competition Law of 2007, which AT&T claims would stimulate the economy, offer consumers more choices and lower prices by increasing competition. The local officials fear that the bill would result in reduced village revenues, ugly utility boxes around town and a lack of service for low-income residents.   —>

Cablers, AT&T Compromise in Connecticut
New Version of Legislation Brings Telcos, Incumbent Cable Operators Closer to Parity
by Linda Haugsted
Multichannel News

—>   The bill bars build-out or specific technology requirements. Still to be determined is a gross-receipts-tax increase. That levy is currently at 5%, but the bill contemplates an increase, perhaps of a half-percentage point (to 5.5%), to help fund PEG-channel (public, educational and government) equipment upgrades.   —>

America Has Absolutely No Idea If Citizens Have Broadband
And it’s a problem that’s not going to be fixed any time soon
by Karl
Broadband Reports

As we recently noted, Maryland lawmakers were working on a plan that would force ISPs in the state to present quarterly reports on exactly where they offer service and at what speeds in order to help the state solve broadband penetration issues. Local papers now report that the plan has been scuttled by Verizon and Comcast lobbyists, who claim the law would do everything from stifle innovation to close down regional coffee shops (that logic isn’t explained).

Maryland’s plan was a reaction to a problem we’ve touched on endlessly: FCC broadband data is not reliable, so nobody in this country really knows the depth of coverage gaps. Without knowing the reality on the ground, lawmakers can’t draft effective policy (if such an idea was possible to begin with). The Center for Public Integrity recently sued the FCC in order to obtain the FCC’s unpublicized raw data on broadband penetration (see our interview).

Incumbents have been fighting the release of that data, which would indicate exactly which neighborhoods incumbents deem “profitable to serve” and could shine light on the kind of calculations they use to come to that determination. Incumbents claim the release of the data would cause “competitive harm”; Verizon recently insisted that cherry picking affluent neighborhoods “was not in their corporate DNA.”

The FCC seems unwilling to improve their data collection methodology. Incumbent providers are not interested in providing data that illuminates their deployment shortfalls. State and local governments are left without the information needed to help improve geographical broadband coverage, and attempts to correct this are shot down by deep-pocketed lobbyists. So what’s the solution?   —>

Watch a live meeting, but not on the ‘tube’
News Observer (NC)

—>   The Carrboro Board of Aldermen will try for the first time to stream their meeting tonight live on the Internet. They’re calling it their “first production test” and are asking for feedback from viewers, like how the quality of the sound and video, and if you could connect to the screen. To send in comments about the stream, e-mail IT manager Andy Vogel at   —>   The town of Carrboro asks that viewers keep in mind there may be technical difficulties since it’s a test. Currently, only Microsoft Windows users will be able to watch the live stream.   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

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

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