Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/23/07

New legislation, same old phone company
by Brad Ashwell
Florida Voice
Daytona Beach News Journal (FL)

Among the things that never seem to change in Florida: The Gators and Seminoles will always feud and our local Bell phone company will always be lobbying Tallahassee for a new rate hike, deregulation bill or clever tax loophole.

In 2003, BellSouth used a phone deregulation bill to raise rates on Florida consumers by $300 million — the biggest price hike in history. And in 2006, it exploited a regulatory loophole to stick consumers with a $34 million bill for repairing their phone network because the company failed to purchase storm insurance. Each time, the details might be different, but the tale is as old as a dial tone — raise rates and reduce consumer value, all while avoiding real competition.

Now, AT&T (formerly BellSouth) wants us to believe that it has become the bulwark of competition, but only for the cable TV and broadband markets. A quick look at the legislation being pushed through the Legislature reveals that this competition flag-waving is really a game; AT&T’s real agenda, it seems, is to eliminate the widely supported non-discrimination laws by allowing the giant telephone monopoly to offer services exclusively to the rich side of town, thus severely limiting competition but fattening its bottom line. —>

[ This Bill Callahan post merits reposting in full. – rm ]

Lev Gonick: SB 117 vs. I-Nets
by Bill Callahan
Callahan’s Cleveland Diary (OH)

A very important point yesterday at Bytes From Lev:

“Missing from almost all the analysis is the single most important part of existing franchise agreements and those are the provisions that relate to so-called I-Nets (Institutional Networks). In the first round of franchise agreements with Cable providers, the City template franchise agreement for providing rights to lay out fiber included a public set-a-side of 6 or more fiber pairs to be used to connect public institutions like schools, government buildings, public health care services, and other public institutions. The provision was slightly ahead of its time but in the past 10 years or so, enlightened Cities (and Counties) are significantly leveraging their negotiated rights to use I-Net infrastructure.

“The current language in Bill 117 is entirely silent on the right of the State or any local jurisdiction to conclude a franchise agreement that will provide public set aside access of fiber pairs to enable communities and their elected officials to use fiber to create connected communities around the country. Make no mistake about it, while cities like Cleveland and Dayton stand to loose $250,000 per year or so through certain changes in the proposed formulas for the franchise agreements, the real economic loss will come from giving up the provisioning of I-Nets as part of the entitlement of cities and the State of Ohio. The long term impact will be measured in hundreds of millions of dollars not to mention public capacity to participate in framing a public agenda for public benefit in the Internet Age.

“…Looking back 20 years from now, a decision to miss bringing forward the provisions of I-Nets will be seen by future pundits as the key legislative miss (while cable television will likely be a largely irrelevant issue). While Europe, Asia, and many other countries in Latin America, Canada, and elsewhere are leveraging public access to fiber to position their countries to be leaders in the emerging Internet Age, U.S. and Ohio legislators are losing the opportunity to leverage legislative authority in the public interest.”

Unfortunately, Lev is in error about SB 117 being “silent” on this issue (but that only makes his point more important). Here’s Section 1332.30 (B):

No municipal corporation or township shall require a video service provider to provide any institutional network or equivalent capacity on its video service network.

I hope Lev is planning to submit testimony. It would be nice if the Energy and Public Utilities Committee got to hear from an actual recognized expert on the future of networks.

Why Change What Already Works? How SB 117 Is Unfair & Unwarranted
by Doug Fritz
Uncommon Sense (OH)

The question someone should be asking in regards to the current telco legislation in Ohio, Senate Bill SB 117, is this…. Is TimeWarner profitable? I believe the answer is yes.

So if they have been able to make a profit under the current law, why should we assume another company could not be as equally profitable? Why would we modify a law that is working for business and for consumers? —>


Protecting the spectrum for media freedom
By Nalaka Gunawardene
Matchstick Steps

On May 3, the annual World Press Freedom Day will once again be observed worldwide, focusing public attention on a multitude of threats to freedom of expression through the mass media. But amidst the extremely relevant and necessary slogans, we are unlikely to hear this slogan: Hands off our spectrum. Yet saving our spectrum is critical for ensuring media freedom.

The electro-magnetic spectrum has been called the ‘invisible wealth of nations’, and all broadcasting using the airwaves relies on the fair, equitable and sound management of this common property resource. And as economic and cultural practices move more and more into the digital realm, the spectrum’s value is only set to increase.

But few people -– even within the media profession and industry -– appreciate our dependence on this finite resource. Out of sight does seem to push it out of most people’s minds. Therein lurks a danger: what we don’t see and value can be quietly taken away, without many of us realising it.

Evolving into an information society requires that frequencies are allocated in a balanced way amongst community, commercial and public service media. But that’s just what has not happened in a large number of countries — some developed and many developing ones among them. —>

Nonprofits benefit from new media organization
By Joanne Fox
Sioux City Journal (IA)

> “I started thinking about what I had done in Denver and how positive it was that these nonprofits were getting their message out,” he said. “In the back of my head, I got the idea that it could be done here in Sioux City.”

Rouse brought the idea from the back to the front of his head and researched the concept. He discovered CableOne was offering nonprofits air time, but for the most part, production was the nonprofits’ responsibility. He found Morningside College had a television studio and equipment that could be used. “The first year, I set up Siouxland Community Media, it was a fairly loose operation,” Rouse admitted. “Gradually, we set up a board of directors and were incorporated with the state in 2007.”

Rouse began making phone calls inviting nonprofits to be a part of this new endeavor. Organizations, agencies and schools may use the volunteers with Siouxland Community Media to produce a message about the services and programs they provide and/or to announce upcoming events. —>

Learn How To Create, Publish And Promote Your Online Video: Make Internet TV
by Robin Good

Make Internet TV is a long-overdue resource that does a great job of tackling the entire web video process, from beginning to end. Until now there have been lots of great articles, tools and services put together to make your web-video-making life easier, but finding them isn’t always easy when they are scattered across the web.

The most significant thing about Make Internet TV is that everything the budding web-videographer might want to know has been gathered in one place, and made both accessible to beginners, yet modular enough that more experienced visitors can skip to the exact information they are looking for.

Each of the six chapters that make up the Make Internet TV guide are further subdivided into sections, and it is possible to follow them one-at-a-time, building up your knowledge in a linear way, or just skip to the exact resource that matches your needs. This is a well-thought-through approach to information design, and there is little chance of anyone getting lost in what is a very easy-to-navigate website. —>

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

Explore posts in the same categories: I-Net, institutional network, Internet TV, media reform, PEG access TV, public access television, redlining, video franchising

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