Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/17/07

Illinois Cable Deregulation Challenged

The so called “video competition” bill, HB 1500 is opposed by every community and advocacy group worth it’s salt. A lobby day is planned for Weds. April 18 under the Keep Us Connected coalition. From their site: —>

Lawmakers discuss amendment in cable bill
by Andy Sher
Chattanooga Times Free Press (TN)

NASHVILLE — A Hamilton County lawmaker said he will offer an amendment this afternoon in a House subcommittee that he hopes will ease opposition to a statewide video franchising bill. Rep. Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, said the provision requires that AT&T and other would-be beneficiaries of the proposed statewide franchising process make video services available to a set percentage of households in communities they wish to serve…

Rep. McCormick said his proposal is based on concessions AT&T made to get similar legislation passed in Missouri. He said it will force a new company entering the market to make the service available to 25 percent of their service area within three years and 50 percent within six years. —>

AB 207 Amended; Worst Aspects Fixed Somewhat
by Barry Orton
Paul Soglin: Waxing America (WI)

AB 207 passed the Assembly Committee on Energy and Utilities today on a vote of 8-1. There were a number of amendments introduced by Chairman Montgomery, several of which improved the bill significantly. I’m still reviewing them, but at first glance they:

* Restore franchise fees by keeping advertising and home shopping revenues in the gross revenues base.
* Protect PEG channels somewhat regarding both transmission costs and the programming levels to meet the “substantially utilized” test for a channel.
* Allow the Department of Financial Institutions to engage in limited rulemaking and oversight regarding the qualifications of applicants for a state video franchise.
* Restore the existing set of subscriber rights regarding consumer protection and apply them to video service providers, cable operators and (GASP!) satellite service providers under the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection. This last addition is a stunner. I applaud it, but wait until Direct TV finds out. —>

Cable industry, AT&T helped shape video franchising bill
Judith Davidoff
The Capital Times (WI)

A legislative drafting memo shows that AT&T and the Wisconsin cable industry had a heavy hand in shaping a controversial video franchising bill before it was introduced to the state Legislature, critics of the bill say. —>

Cable officials meet with authors of cable competition bill
by Mark Pitsch
Wisconsin State Journal

As legislative aides drafted a cable competition bill this year for Rep. Phil Montgomery, R-Ashwaubenon, officials from telecommunications giant AT&T and the state’s cable providers got a chance to express their opinions about the measure in a private meeting while opponents didn’t, according to state records and interviews. —>

Council approves pact with AT&T
by Larry Sandler
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)

Racing to stay one step ahead of the Legislature, the Milwaukee Common Council today approved a three-year deal with AT&T that would treat the telecommunications company’s Internet-based television service much like rival Time Warner Cable. But even as the council acted, an Assembly committee was endorsing statewide television legislation that could override this deal and end all municipal regulation of cable television and similar services.

Aldermen said they were hoping to influence the debate in Madison. Ald. Mike D’Amato proclaimed the Milwaukee deal “the finest agreement crafted by any municipality nationwide” with AT&T on this issue, and he urged the Legislature to view the pact “as a template” for any new state law.

At issue is AT&T’s U-Verse system, which uses the Internet to distribute video programming. City officials contend the new service is a cable TV system, and therefore requires a city franchise. AT&T disagrees but was willing to negotiate a deal somewhat similar to Time Warner’s cable franchise.

The agreement calls for AT&T to pay the city 5% of its gross U-Verse revenue as a license fee, plus another 2% to fund public access, educational and governmental programming. It also requires the company to provide the service to 25% of the households in the metropolitan area within three years, and for low-income households to make up at least one-quarter of those served. Although the state bill also would require 5% fees to municipalities, it would shift franchising control to the state and would prohibit municipalities from requiring companies to pay for public programming. —>

Church Bulletin Notes 4-14 & 4-15, 2007
St. Peters Church News & Events (WI)

Schedule changes for services on public access Effective the week of April 23rd there will be some changes to the schedule of church servies on Sturgeon Bay Public Access Channel 18. Sunday’s schedule will remain unchanged, however, our mid-week broadcast has been changed to Wednesdays at 9 am and 6 pm. So, tune in on Wednesdays at 9 am and 6 pm, and Sundays at 10 am and 7 pm.

Your help is requested! There is a bill called the “Video Competition Bill” (AB207/SB107) making its way through the legislature in Madison that has the potential to severely and adversely affect local cable franchise and our Sturgeon Bay Public Access channel’s ability to continue operations. Copies of a summary of the bill’s effects are available at church entrances. We urge you to read the summary and contact Rep. Bies and Sen. Lasee and let them know how valuable our local programming is to us.

Broussard Council renews Cox’s franchise
Layfayette Pro Fiber (LA)

The Advertiser updates the story of Broussard’s good-deal renewal of Cox’s cable franchise. They got both a tighter build-out requirement and a governmental wifi net out of the deal. On the build out: The new contract stipulates that the cable company will provide service to areas with 30 residences per linear mile, replacing the previous requirement of 40 per linear mile.

According to an earlier story Langlinais was pressing for 25 residences per linear mile. He apparently got thirty. That’s a substantial improvement. The new wifi deal was reported as sparsely as you could imagine: Governmental agencies, such as the police, fire and public works departments and Broussard City Hall also will receive access to wireless Internet service under a separate agreement, Skinner said.

Though wifi is apparently not incorporated in the franchise agreement itself it is hard not to see it as anything other than a part of what Cox gave up in its negotiations. —>


‘All You Need to Know About Videoblogging’
Social Media (CA)

For anyone who lives in the Bay Area, or who knows someone who might like to get into videoblogging, there’s a cool event tomorrow night in Palo Alto with videoblog pioneers/authors Ryanne Hodson and Michael Verdi.

Title: “All You Need to Know About Videoblogging”
Where: the nonprofit Community Media Center, 900 San Antonio Road, Palo Alto, Calif.
When: 7:30 pm April 18
What: Ryanne and Michael will take you on a magical tour of the new genre. They’ll show a number of different styles of videoblogs from the thousands that are popping up on the internet. Videoblogs are short-format videos that are often first-person narratives and serials. They’ll share tips on production, equipment, web publishing, and promotion. Ourmedia is a co-sponsor of the event, which is part of a series of public conversations and workshops presented by the Media Center about new trends in media and communications technology.

It’s magic when you’re on the air
The Bainbridge Bulletin (WA)

Finally, us poor folk without the highfalutin cable teevee can watch the Island’s public access station. Well, as long as you have a highfalutin internet connection, that is. BITV is now streaming all its programs via —>

Norton TV accessing the future
by M. Junaid Alam
The Sun Chronicle (MA)

—> “When I came here, it was just VCRs,” he said. Once Benjamin got through to the board, he spearheaded plans to transcend the limits of the cable subscriber base. And that meant going online. “We have 5,000 cable subscribers in Norton,” Benjamin said, “but now we can serve a lot more of our demographic.”

Last month, the director struck a deal with Brightcove, a major player in the ascendant service of Internet TV. For a nominal fee, Norton TV uploads thousands of gigabytes of data onto Brightcove’s servers in Cambridge. Norton end users, in turn, can access the digitally-recorded videos of town meetings and community events from Norton TV’s Web site,

“We’re usually looking at a 24- to 48-hour turnaround,” Benjamin said of the time it takes to shoot events with digital equipment, encode it and then whip the data across broadband lines… The ample amount of storage also allows NortonTV to maintain an archive of videos.

While the technical achievement is impressive, Benjamin said it is merely a means toward garnering greater community involvement. “Before this (Internet TV) system, we were lucky to get five people to our Web site,” he said. Gliding his hands across the keyboard of his Macintosh laptop at the studio, Benjamin summoned up the site’s latest statistics. “10,977 hits this month,” (as of April 10) he noted with evident satisfaction.

In related efforts to draw in more community involvement, the channel is hosting a contest for local residents to submit their own home-made digital videos. Winners will receive gift certificates for local businesses. Gouveia said the contest has potential. “What we’re trying to stress is that this is public access television,” he said, emphasizing the word “access.” “We want to be the vessel by which people communicate.”

Furthering that vision is an agreement the channel struck with TelVue Corp., a cable technology company that enables local access channels to customize and edit their content via the Internet. —>

Brain Labor Report: Community Access Television

Pete Belcastro gives an overview of community access to media via Ashland Oregon’s Rogue Valley Television. 31 minutes.

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

Explore posts in the same categories: cable vs telco, citizen journalism, community media, IPTV, PEG access TV, public access television, redlining, social media, U-Verse, video franchising

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