Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/10/07

Cable TV reform: CON
by Mike Daves
Savannah Morning News Op-Ed (GA)

—>  For over 10 years, AT&T has had the opportunity to compete for your business at the local level by obtaining a local franchise but chose not to. Now they want the state government to create a shortcut to make up for lost time, despite the fact that for over 10 years local governments have welcomed competition through non-exclusive franchises.

With the legislative changes they seek, AT&T could bypass many requirements that local governments currently negotiate with cable companies, including making service available to everyone. This would allow the telephone company to “cherry pick” customers by only serving affluent neighborhoods and essentially discriminating against lower income and rural areas.

Our neighbors to the South in Florida are considering similar legislation for AT&T. Members of a Senate committee recently took the time to amend their bill to protect against discrimination of low-income areas.

The concern is warranted here also. Just take a look at the few local franchises AT&T has obtained in Georgia. They have primarily targeted high income, high-growth neighborhoods in the suburbs of metropolitan Atlanta. To my knowledge, AT&T has never shown any interest in serving Savannah…

…buyers should beware of the AT&T sales pitch. Just ask their CEO Ed Whitacre. When a reporter with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution asked him what consumers should expect if AT&T expanded their pay TV service in Georgia, he replied, “They should expect no change.  We hope they buy more and the bill goes up.”   —>

Lawmakers Want to Avoid AT&T / Local Government Fight
by Adam Groves
Tennessee Politics Blog

—>   The chief area of debate seems to be the “build-out” requirements that require local providers of these cable services to provide some services for free in poorer areas for the public good. AT&T could avoid build outs with a statewide franchise, that local governments argue would allow them the ability to only service wealthy areas.   —>

Lawmakers want AT&T, cable to strike deal on franchising rights
by John Rodgers
Nashville City Paper (TN)

Lawmakers tried to push AT&T, the cable industry and local governments to the negotiating table Monday concerning the fight over local versus statewide television franchising authority.  During a joint meeting of the state House and Senate Commerce Committees, testimony was heard from local and county government officials, the cable industry and AT&T about the issue of statewide television franchising.   —>

City may approve cable agreement
The Shreveport Times (LA)

The Shreveport City Council will consider a resolution today that would express the city’s intention to consider competing offers from other cable television companies.  The resolution is being pushed by the Louisiana Municipal Association, which is supplying the proposal to municipalities across the state in time for the legislative session that begins April 30.

Shreveport would be the largest city in Louisiana to approve the agreement. As of Monday, 81 cities in the state had passed similar resolutions, including Minden and Ruston.  The proposal is a response to a bill proposed in the Legislature last year that would have made it easier for telephone companies to offer television service in competition with cable operators.   —>

What You Can Do to Oppose the Verizon Bill
by Susan Fleischmann
Cambridge Community TV (MA)

Last week, we wrote about a bill being considered on Beacon Hill that would change the way that cable franchising is done in the Commonwealth, You can read that story here  Here is what YOU can do:

• Contact your state legislators and those who are on the Joint Telecommunications Committee, and urge them to oppose the bill
• Contact your City Councilors and urge them to oppose the bill
• Come to the State House Hearing on June 5 at 10 AM in Rooms A-1 and A-2, even if you do not plan to speak, just your presence will have an impact. If you DO speak, talk briefly about your experiences as a user of CCTV’s services, and your fears that public access will lose funding under the proposal.   —>

Statewide cable franchising bad news
Letter to Editor by Mauro de Pasquale
Worcester Telegram & Gazette (MA)

The current local cable franchise system doesn’t discourage competition or consumer choice. This 25-year-old system has worked well, and for many communities in eastern Massachusetts there has been competition between RCN and Comcast for some 10 years. Also, throughout all municipalities in the state there are two other competitors in the form of satellite TV providers — Dish Network and Direct TV. In many communities, Verizon is the fifth provider of multi-channel video services, as defined by the FCC.

If new competitors want to enter into a city franchise, currently they merely have to match the incumbent’s license terms. Thus, there exists a level and fair playing field.  But it appears Verizon simply wants to avoid being subject to local franchise terms and accountability.   —>

Omnibus Telecommunications Reform Act of 2007
by bankbane
The Albany Project (NY)

—>   Essentially the bill creates the New York State Broadband Development Authority with the duty of monitoring and controlling broadband corporations, to prevent “redlining” and eliminate the digital divide. It allows statewide cable franchising, while purporting to protect public access and it establishes “net neutrality” language.

On first reading this looks like a fairly progressive bill; but I’d like to ask the telecommunications experts among us to weigh in with potential pitfalls. Is this the “Verizon Monopoly Protection Act” or is this the best way to protect and monitor access to broadband technology across the state?

Pa’lante show gets new space
by Karin Dryhurst
The Daily Tar Heel (NC)

The Peoples Channel, Chapel Hill’s public access television station, and Radio Pa’lante have created a partnership to promote community media.  Pa’lante, a Spanish-language youth media program founded in 2003, produces a show that airs every Friday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on radio station WCOM in Carrboro.

Chad Johnston, executive director of The Peoples Channel, said the partnership is part of his plan to create a “big, little media army.”  “There’s so little community media,” he said. “We should all be working together.”   —>

HF2107 – Statewide Broadband Policy
Blandin on Broadband (MN)

OK I have been trying to make time all day to blog about the bill introduced today during the Telecommunications Regulation and Infrastructure Committee meeting. Before they delved into the statewide cable franchising bill, Representative Masin introduced HF 2107, Telecommunications goals provided, and broadband policy director and advisory board established.fiber optics.  The goal of the bill appears to be threefold:

1. Provide 1 gigabit/sec (Gbit) to everyone
2. Provide it by 2015
3. Establish a broadband policy director and advisory board

The meeting is available online and/or you can read on for my notes of this topic from the  meeting.   —>

Fight against new FCC video franchising rules heads to court
by Eric Bangeman
Ars Technica

A handful of local government groups are asking the courts to roll back the Federal Communication Commission’s new video franchise rules. Formal Petitions for Review were filed before the US Courts of Appeal for the Third, Fourth, and Sixth Circuits, by the National Association of Counties, the Alliance for Community Media, National League of Cities, the National Association of Telecommunications Officials, and the US Conference of Mayors, among others. —>

Qwest’s Quest for Video
Light Reading

Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q – message board) was one of the first names in telco TV, but lately it’s not the first name that comes to mind when the subject comes up.

While other big telcos are mounting scare campaigns against cable TV and attempting to woo Wall Street with their vision of the future, Qwest has taken a more contemplative approach. It hasn’t broadly defined its video strategy. And the company says its watching the IPTV pioneers and will continue to experiment with several ways of delivering video services to its customers.   —>

Headline News
Athol Orange Community Television

We have a new feature on the site. We are including headline stories from around the PEG Access world. There are several good sources of information for what’s going on with the struggle to keep community television here in the United States. You should keep informed of these rapid changes as they can directly affect PEG television in our community.

We are able to link to these news sources and their headlines with a new technology called RSS, which stands for Really Simple Syndication. RSS allows organizations like AOTV to go out, link to news sites and fetch their headlines. The headlines are then presented on OUR site, where you can easily read them. All you have to do is click on the link for the story that interests you.   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Dir., Information & Organizing Services
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: cable vs telco, FCC, PEG access TV, public access television, redlining, video franchising

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