Community Media: Selected Clippings – 05/10/07

Senate approved a bill aimed at sparking cable TV competition
Columbus Dispatch (OH)

The bill is designed to put competitors Time Warner and AT&T on more level ground. If approved by the House and signed by Gov. Ted Strickland, it would create a single statewide franchise for each company instead of a patchwork of local agreements signed by cities and townships. —>

Editorial: Do the right cable reform
The Capitol Times (WI)

The state Senate’s decision to slow down deliberations on a proposal to put state government in the business of licensing cable television systems is appropriate and necessary. The bill in its current form is not a product of the Legislature and its members. Rather, it is an industry-crafted measure that communications giant AT&T is desperate to get passed.

AT&T was spreading so much campaign money around earlier this year, hiring so many lobbyists and filling the radio airwaves with so many slick commercials favoring its bill, that for a time it seemed that this radical restructuring of how cable systems operate in Wisconsin was unstoppable.

But now it may be stopped. Senators have taken the bill off the fast track and steered it into the committee process. Hopefully, that reconsideration will lead to a decision to scrap the measure altogether. Killing this bill does not have to spell the end of efforts to reform cable regulations in Wisconsin. —>

City Plans To Challenge FCC Ruling on Cable TV Agreements
by Dennis A. Shook
Shepherd Express (WI)

There is a struggle being fought in Madison and Washington, D.C., to see who controls your TV set. The big winners could well be the cable TV providers, such as Time Warner cable, and would-be providers, such as AT&T. But guess who might end up losing in the deal?

Much has been made about how competition will lower rates. But the City of Milwaukee also sees itself as losing its rights of local control. So the Milwaukee Common Council voted Tuesday to spend $10,000 to challenge a recently enacted decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that limits how municipalities negotiate agreements with cable TV providers. —>

‘Net neutrality’ debate both federal, local
by Ann S. Kim
Portland Press Herald (ME)

AUGUSTA – A national effort to keep Internet providers from charging Web sites a premium to speed their content to viewers has reached the State House… Sen. Ethan Strimling, D-Portland, has introduced a bill that would prohibit Internet providers from charging Web sites for faster load times, require information to be routed on a first-come, first-served basis, and bar the blocking of content. Strimling’s proposal goes before the Utilities and Energy Committee at a hearing today. —>

City Council hearing on Net Neutrality
People’s Production House (NY)

On Monday, April 30, the City Council Committee on Technology in Government held a hearing on Resolution 712, “Establishing Strong Network Neutrality Principles In Order To Protect The Internet.”

The Resolution calls on the US Congress to “codify strong network neutrality principles in order to ensure that the Internet will continue to foster innovation, increase competition, and spur economic growth as well as making the Internet faster and more affordable for all.”

People’s Production House was there to testify at and document the hearing. In our testimony, PPH Policy Director Joshua Breitbart urged the Committee to extend the Resolution to address Internet access over cell phones, since that is such an important means of access for many New Yorkers. You can read our testimony or listen to the entire hearing below.

Are you wondering, “What is net neutrality?” Then click here. —>

The Universe According to AT&T’s U-verse
by Jennifer Harris
Center for Digital Democracy

> AT&T’s leap into the converged world is illustrated in its two-pronged IPTV approach, Homezone and U-verse. IPTV is a system that enables digital television sets to be programmed using the more personalized data delivery method of the Internet – Internet Protocol…

AT&T is not only seeking to control broadband on the user end, but to parcel it out to preferred content providers as well. AT&T is taking harmful steps to ensure that non-commercial television has no future on IPTV sets. Consumers should not expect to see community-focused, noncommercial programming in the world of U-verse…at least not clearly.

A suspicious request made in an agreement between AT&T and San Antonio asked that PEG access centers send all programming to the provider at rates that would clearly degrade the content; ultimately making the community channels unwatchable to all viewers. Alliance for Community Media Executive Director, Anthony Riddle believes that by juxtaposing the pixilated community media channels with the crisp HD images of the other cable channels that “AT&T is pushing to ghettoize PEG channels on U-verse”. —>


Valley tuned in to cable changes
by Matthew Higby
Connecticut Post

SEYMOUR — The pressure is mounting on Comcast cable to restore the local programming that it canceled after taking over Tele-Media, the Valley’s cable television provider. State Rep. Linda Gentile D-Ansonia, and a coalition of 11 other state legislators sent a letter to the commissioner of the Department of Public Utility Control on Wednesday asking for the department to intervene and have Comcast restore Tele-Media’s long-standing practice of airing locally produced shows.

“This has been a vital service provided to our community over the years,” Gentile said in a prepared release. “Having an outlet where citizens can gain access to local community discussions and public affairs programs is a necessary service that the holder of the exclusive cable franchise should continue to maintain.”

Under the Tele-Media franchise, which started in the late 1970s, the Seymour studios produced public affairs shows such as the feature-oriented program “Valley Worthy of Note” and “Legislative Talk,” a forum for local state legislators; local high school football games, and mayoral debates during election years. While Comcast is required by law to allow community access television, it does not support local origination programming. When it took over Tele-Media last fall, it reassigned the staff that was running the local programming. —>

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

Explore posts in the same categories: cable vs telco, IPTV, net neutrality, PEG access TV, public access television, redlining, U-Verse, video franchising

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