Community Media: Selected Clippings – 08/01/07

Governor Announces ‘Broadband Ohio’ Initiative
Creates Ohio Broadband Council to Coordinate Network Efforts
Rural Telecommunications Congress

Governor Ted Strickland today issued an executive order announcing the Broadband Ohio initiative to extend the reach of Ohio’s broadband resources, further Ohio’s leadership in network innovation and improve technology access for all citizens throughout the state. —>
[ see also Gov. Strickland’s press release ]


Channel 34 on the fritz?
by Erica Zarra
Montclair Times (NJ)

Could you do without watching the Township Council proceedings from the comfort of your own home? This is a question facing Montclairians who leave Comcast Cable Television Service for Verizon, which does not offer access to the municipality’s free local network, Channel 34.

The municipally operated station provides news updates, airs taped meetings and presentations, and broadcasts emergency notices. However, when subscribers, such as Mayor Ed Remsen, changed from the municipally licensed Comcast to Verizon, they searched in vain for Channel 34.

“You have to have it,” said Remsen. “You shouldn’t have to make a choice of losing local access if you switch providers.” Township Manager Joseph Hartnett told The Times that Montclair intends to pursue the issue, and will insist that all cable providers offer the local access network. —>

AT&T plans to offer state TV services
by Michelle Jarboe
News-Record (NC)

Television isn’t calling. Yet. AT&T announced plans Tuesday to invest $350 million to upgrade its North Carolina network, with hopes of launching Internet television services in the state in several years . But the telecommunications giant wouldn’t give a timeline for completing its updates and offering video packages to compete with big cable. —>

IVGID explores ways to broadcast board meetings
by Kevin MacMillan
Tahoe Bonanza (NV)

—> The second option, Carter said, was for Charter to provide the IVGID board room with the closed loop system, where a channel would be provided for viewing only in the Incline/Crystal Bay area. “They said ‘yes’, and were willing to provide for certain service fees – around $10,000 or so,” Carter said. “(IVGID) would still need to come up with funding for cameras and a control board, but we felt good about it.”

However, a bill approved on June 4 in the Nevada legislature all but crippled IVGID’s chances for TV broadcast, Carter said. The bill – AB 526 – makes it so companies have to go to the state to obtain a video franchise agreement, Carter said. In other words, the bill allows Charter to terminate any local agreements in favor of a state franchise agreement, Carter said.

AB 526 hurts counties, which in turn hurts places like Incline, Carter said. In Washoe County’s instance, since Charter has to obtain a franchise agreement through the state, it is more apt to target Reno and Sparks because they are the high population areas.

“It’s just more cost-effective to provide cable to a big city than it is to a smaller development like Incline Village and Crystal Bay,” Carter said. “Until the market drives it to smaller communities, Charter isn’t going to do anything. As long as Reno and Sparks continue to annex out, Charter’s going to grab all those customers up.”

After AB 526 was approved, Charter pulled out of its agreement with the county and IVGID, Carter said. That’s when the focus turned to the Web, Weinberger said. In order to broadcast meetings on the Internet, Weinberger said IVGID would need to invest in camera equipment, which is what Cruz and her staff will investigate. Carter estimated it would cost about $50,000 to outfit the board room with new camera and control board equipment.

What should we include in our national broadband strategy?
By Senator Durbin

[Editor’s Note: I’d like to welcome Senator Durbin to our front page and I’d like to ask each of you to be mindful that this is an experiment in bipartisanship. Please keep your comments relevant to the topic at hand. Senator Durbin will be live blogging this issue this evening. Thanks, Erick]

Hello, I’m Senator Dick Durbin. I’m looking forward to our discussion about what should be included in America’s national broadband strategy.

But before we get to any of that, let me deal with the 800 pound elephant in the room. What the heck am I doing blogging or even posting on RedState? And what do I hope to gain from it?

The answer is simple: different perspectives, different ideas, more people with a seat at the table. My hope is that I will receive comments and suggestions that will help me draft legislation that will make the United States more competitive in terms of broadband access. That’s not a partisan idea, but there are real questions that deserve to be addressed from a variety of ideological viewpoints – what are the right mix of incentives to build broadband infrastructure, how should we manage public resources like spectrum, what is the role of community and regional broadband projects, do we need a Federal Highway System or Rural Electrification Act for broadband, what role should the government and/or the private sector play and what policies are necessary to ensure open debate and innovation?

Following this process, I will draft legislative language, which will be posted online, for all to view and comment on prior to its introduction. To my knowledge, this method of drafting legislation – soliciting public comment, translating it into legislative language, and requesting comments prior to introduction – has never been attempted at the federal level. —>

Consumer Groups Blast FCC’s Biased Research
From Free Press, Consumers Union, Consumer Federation of America

Consumer groups blasted the Federal Communications Commission today for releasing biased research favoring further media consolidation. In a new report, the Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union and Free Press show how the FCC designed a series of studies — released today — to favor lifting the longstanding ban on newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership.

“The agency failed to conduct an external review of the research design, failed to conduct a competitive bid to select researchers, and did not conduct a peer review of the results,” said Dr. Mark Cooper, director of research at the Consumer Federation of America and author of Biased Questions Yield Biased Answers. “The deck was stacked before the research commenced.” —>

Changes in new cable law proposed
by Kirk Pinho
Spinal Column (MI)

A two-bill legislative package designed to simplify the state’s new cable television franchising agreement procedure has been introduced in the Michigan Senate.

… SB 636 would remove a provision from the Metropolitan Extension Telecommunication Rights-of-Way Oversight (METRO) Act requiring that the amount of public, educational, and governmental (PEG) program funding be “determined by a community need assessment.” … SB 636 would amend the law to state that a provider would have to pay a PEG fee equal to one of the following:

• If a provider was operating under a franchise agreement on Jan. 1, 2007, the provider would be responsible for paying the fee as determined by the existing franchise agreement until the agreement expires;

• An amount established by the franchising entity not to exceed 2 percent of the provider’s annual gross revenues in the community;

• If there is no existing franchise agreement on or after Jan. 1, the provider that enters into or possesses a uniform franchise agreement would pay an amount as established by the franchising entity not to exceed 2 percent of annual gross revenues; or

• An amount agreed to by the franchising entity and the video service provider.

compiled by Rob McCausland
Director of Information & Organizing Services
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: broadband policy, cable vs telco, FCC, media ownership, media research, municipal programming, PEG access TV, public access television, video franchising

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