Community Media: Selected Clippings – 05/15/07

Consumer Groups Oppose Cable Bill
by Florida Consumer Action Network
Florida Consumer Viewpoint

FCAN joined Florida Pirg, Consumer Federation of the Southeast, Consumer Federation of America, FreePress, ACORN, and Consumer’s Union is opposing the Cable Bill H 529. In a letter, FCAN and the other groups called on Governor Charlie Crist to veto the bill. The consumer groups make these points: —>

Editorial: Television Bill Merits Crist’s Veto
The Ledger (FL)

Finally, the Florida Legislature had no problem agreeing on something: In overwhelming votes (117-1 in the House, 30-3 in the Senate), lawmakers voted to allow telephone companies to enter into local cable-television markets.

They did this in the interest of “furthering competition.” Unfortunately, in Tallahassee that means giving the telephone companies a different set of rules than used by the cable-television industry – while at the same time placing the consumer at a disadvantage. —>

Cable Legislation Shafts Consumers
by Michael Sittig, Exec. Dir., Florida League of Cities

For the past two years, the telecommunications industry has stated that local government regulations have prevented them from providing a competitive alternative to “monopolistic” cable franchises.

Meanwhile, they have negotiated countless local agreements with cities and counties. Presently, there is absolutely no state statute or local ordinance that prohibits the provision of competitive cable or video services.

The current local franchising process protects potential subscribers and communities from being carved up into technological “haves” and “have nots,” protects property owners and occupants of the taxpayer-owned public right-of-way from destruction of private property and overuse of a public resource and allows individual communities to set aside capacity for community programming in an effort to provide sunshine to local government and access to educational opportunities.

House Bill 529 does its best to eliminate these benefits and protections under the guise of competition. —>

Editorial: New cable bill better, but still incomplete
Appleton Post Crescent (WI)

AT&T has been pushing the Video Competition Act aggressively in Wisconsin, and a cynic would note that if it was as great as they say it is, it wouldn’t need the hard sell. —>

Montgomery joins opposition to cable TV bill
by Andre Salles
The Beacon News (IL)

MONTGOMERY — The Village Board unanimously voted Tuesday to join other Fox Valley municipalities in opposing state control of cable and video service permits. The village’s resolution comes out against House Bill 1500, known as the Cable and Video Competition Law of 2007. If passed, that bill will end local franchise agreements for cable television, putting those permits under the control of the Illinois Commerce Commission. —>,2_1_AU15_CABLE_S1.article

Cable’s future up for grabs in Cape
by TJ Greaney
Southeast Missourian

Cable television in Southeast Missouri is about to change for good. New legislation means competition is on the horizon for current monopoly-holder Charter Communications, while municipal oversight and funding for public access channels are both in jeopardy. —>

The $4 million cable battle – so far
by John Rodgers,
Nashville City Paper (TN)

AT&T, in its battle against cable companies and local governments to get into the television business, has spent $1.55 to $1.6 million on lobbying expenses inside and outside the state Capitol, according to records filed Tuesday with the Tennessee Ethics Commission.

Through March 31, AT&T spent between $250,000 and $300,000 on paying its 25 lobbyists to lobby lawmakers at the state Capitol and $1.3 million to lobby Tennesseans through public relations campaigns and advertisements in favor of its statewide video franchise bill.

“We believe its necessary to spend the money to make Tennessee consumers aware of the benefits of competition and of the benefits of this legislation,” said Ted Wagnon, an AT&T spokesman.

A related group backing AT&T’s bid, TV4us, spent less than $10,000 on lobbying expenses but between $300,000 and $350,000 on non-related lobbying, which includes advertising and public relations. AT&T is one of the main members of TV4us, a non-profit coalition backing increased choice in television services.

Using top end figures, AT&T and TV4us’ total of about $1.95 million, combined with previously filed reports Monday from the Tennessee Cable Telecommunications Association and Comcast of about $2.1 million, equals more than $4 million spent on either supporting or opposing the AT&T-backed bill. —>

All Together Now: Pass and Sign the Telecom Reform Act
by Pete Sikora
The Albany Project (NY)

> (T)oday at 11:30am the groups supporting the bill are standing together to call on the State Legislature and the Governor to move the Brodsky/Leibell Telecommunications Reform Act (A.3980B/S.5124).

We’ll be calling for breaking the cable monopoly to lower rates by about 25%; building universal, affordable high-speed internet; and improving telephone service quality on all telephone technologies. Come join us if you’re around.

I hope we get some media coverage, but it’s just credible groups and legislators calling for action on a really important policy issue that will determine the future of large regions of the state… so it’s a roll of the dice with press. But come by anyway to hear us pontificate: we’ll be in the Legislative Correspondents Association (LCA) press room in the Legislative Office Building (LOB). It’s room 130. The speakers won’t go longer than 12 – 15 minutes.

By the way, the us is Rural Opportunities Inc., Consumers Union, NYS Alliance for Retired Americans, Citizen Action, Free Press, and NYPIRG, as well as Assemblymember Brodsky. Senator Leibell regrets his schedule would not allow him to join us today. The other groups supporting the bill but not coming to today’s event are: ACORN, NYS Rural Advocates, Jobs with Justice, NYS AFL-CIO, and Common Cause.

The text of the letter we’re releasing is after the jump. —>

Gonzales proposes new crime: ‘Attempted’ copyright infringement
by Declan McCullagh

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is pressing the U.S. Congress to enact a sweeping intellectual-property bill that would increase criminal penalties for copyright infringement, including “attempts” to commit piracy.

“To meet the global challenges of IP crime, our criminal laws must be kept updated,” Gonzales said during a speech before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington on Monday.

The Bush administration is throwing its support behind a proposal called the Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2007, which is likely to receive the enthusiastic support of the movie and music industries, and would represent the most dramatic rewrite of copyright law since a 2005 measure dealing with prerelease piracy.

Here’s our podcast on the topic. The IPPA would, for instance: —>


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

Explore posts in the same categories: astroturf, cable vs telco, copyright, PEG access TV, public access television, redlining, U-Verse

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