Community Media: Selected Clippings – 06/05/07

The Illinois model
Editorial: Chicago Tribune

When AT&T and Comcast went to war in Illinois over cable TV competition, who could have imagined that the winner would be their customers? That’s not how these big lobbying battles usually play out in Springfield. But, glory be, the bill that sailed through the Illinois House 113-0 Friday is that rare legislative accomplishment: It ushers in competition, protects consumers and is fair to both phone and cable companies.

If passed by the Senate and signed by the governor, the new law would allow new entrants into the cable TV market to apply for statewide franchises rather than having to negotiate separate deals with each municipality. Significantly, however, the tougher consumer protections in it would apply to new providers of video service such as AT&T and the existing cable TV industry. Those protections would be the most stringent in the nation and would set Illinois up as the model for other states to follow. —>,1,3895527.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true

Task force formed to study controversial bill
by Hillary Chabot
Lowell Sun (MA)

BOSTON — As opposing forces grow against a bill meant to trigger lower cable-television costs, Sen. Steve Panagiotakos moved to create a task force to study the bill. Panagiotakos, who filed the bill this year, said the task force would address the public lobbying taking place on both sides of the issue and report their findings in 90 days. —>

Verizon bill stirs debate over competition, control in cable market
by Priscilla Yeon & Gintautus Dumcius
State House News Service (MA)

—> At an emotionally-charged and crowded hearing, hundreds of supporters and opponents of the bill applauded and booed testifiers, with opponents wearing “Keep Cable Local”, or “Don’t mess with Access,” and supporters wearing buttons saying: “Vote Yes for Competition and Cable TV Choice.” —>

Bill would shift review of cable TV franchises to state level
by Mark Jewell
Boston Globe (MA)

—> On Tuesday, a joint House-Senate panel held its first hearing on Masschusetts legislation introduced in January. During the session, Steven Panagiotakos, D-Lowell, a co-sponsor of the Cable Choice and Competition Act, recommended the Joint Committee on Utilities, Telecommunications and Energy create a task force to study the idea more closely.

No action was taken at the hearing, which drew hundreds of critics wearing stickers that read “Keep cable local!” and a roughly equal number of supporters sporting buttons reading “Vote yes for competition — cable TV choice.” —>

Spectrum Comments Flood FCC
by Roy Mark

Tech groups, consumers, political activists and at least one presidential candidate are flooding the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with advice for the agency’s upcoming auction of spectrum that may sell for more than $12 billion. The primary thrust of their comments is simple: keep the spectrum out of the hands of incumbent telecom and cable giants like Verizon and Comcast. The spectrum in the 700MHz band is earmarked for wireless broadband services and public safety.

“Big phone and cable companies don’t want this new competition to their Internet services — they want to cement their market dominance in place,” stated a letter signed by more than 40 individuals, companies and organizations, including Stanford law professor Larry Lessig and Craigslist founder Craig Newmark. The comments came as the deadline for comments on the FCC’s rules and regulations for the auction came to a close on Monday. —>

FCC Gets Earful About Wireless Net Neutrality
by Jason Lee Miller

The Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) was bombarded today pleas to keep a tight reign on the upcoming 700 MHz spectrum auction to prevent phone and cable companies from expanding their grip on Internet access in the wireless realm.

The 700MHz spectrum is considered to be perfect for wireless broadband services, and, like with television signals, is capable of penetrating walls. Using that spectrum for broadband, according to supporters, would greatly expand Internet access in the US, which is currently not in the top ten on world broadband penetration lists. That’s because, they would argue, the telecommunications industry has self-regulated broadband growth to increase profits.

The FCC received letters from Presidential hopeful John Edwards, FreePress’ coalition,, spearheaded by Lawrence Lessig, Professor, Stanford Law School & Founder, Center for Internet and Society, and supported by 250,000 signatories. Lessig has been quite active lately, also petitioning the television networks to make the Presidential debates open for reuse by the public. So far, CNN has agreed.

Lessig’s new cause is keeping this particular slice of spectrum open to those who could compete with companies like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast, all with deep pockets and a strong interest in controlling this bit of the airwaves. The plea to the FCC asks, in a nutshell, to ensure national high-speed wireless Internet with open and neutral networks and a competitive marketplace. The letter asks the FCC to: —>

C-SPAN-like TV takes state legislatures into living rooms

(Phoenix-AP) _ Connecticut residents who watch the General Assembly session on TV are part of a growing number of people nationwide using such services. More than 20-stations nationwide are providing gavel-to-gavel legislative coverage, including the Connecticut Network. That growth comes as news coverage by many commercial T-V stations is increasingly sparse, and often is broadcast on cable T-V or public access stations. Advocates say it’s like reality TV, in that it’s unscripted and provides a window on activity that people otherwise wouldn’t see.

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

Explore posts in the same categories: broadband policy, cable vs telco, FCC, PEG access TV, public access television, spectrum auction, video franchising

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