Community Media: Selected Clippings – 08/13/07

Comcast Cuts Free Drops   (MI)
Multichannel News

Local Michigan governments are publicly criticizing cable operators there for taking advantage of a state law, for instance, cutting most of its free cable services to firehouses and police stations.  Around July 4, Comcast began notifying communities that in the future, it will provide a free drop to one police and one fire station per community, not to each facility as it does now. Also, Charter Communications has notified some of its 850 communities that it will no longer maintain construction and performance bonds specified in local franchises.

This is in reaction to the December 2006 passage of Public Law 480, which moved franchising authority to the state. As a consequence of that bill, many local franchise requirements, such as construction and performance bonding, a demand for local offices and free connections to schools and all municipal buildings, are now void.   —>

AT&T: Conn. AG Is ‘Anti-Consumer’
Multichannel News

An action taken by Connecticut’s attorney general to stop AT&T from deploying its U-verse TV video product in the state is “anti-consumer through and through,” according to the telephone company.  Attorney General Richard Blumenthal filed an emergency petition last week, asking state utility regulators to make AT&T get a cable franchise for its Internet-protocol delivered video service, U-verse.

His filing also seeks an order to immediately stop construction of new facilities and prevent the addition of new customers until AT&T has a franchise. If his petition is granted, AT&T would be prohibited from dropping service to its initial video customers; those consumers should not be penalized for AT&T’s failure to have obtained a state cable franchise, according to the filing.

The petition is in reaction to a July 26 ruling by U.S. District Court judge Janet Bond Arterton that AT&T was in fact a cable operator, despite a 2006 decision by the Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control that determined that U-verse does not meet the definition of a traditional cable service.  The Arterton ruling came in a suit brought by the state’s Office of Consumer Counsel, the New England Cable & Telecommunications Association and Cablevision Systems.   —>

Media ownership wars continue at FCC
Broadcast Engineering

One of the most contentious media policy issues shows no signs of cooling down at the FCC. Democrat commissioners now suggest the Republican chairman may have doctored new research to favor his corporate, pro-consolidation argument.

Little has changed since Michael Powell , the FCC chairman earlier in the decade, was accused of the same tactic. Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein, the two Democrat commissioners, say Republican chairman Kevin Martin excluded them from preparation of 10 new FCC reports on media ownership. With the exception of one, all the authors and topics of the reports were selected by Martin, the “National Journal” reported.   —>

Political Notes: GOP tries to channel its message
by Karen Jeffrey
Cape Code Times (MA)

Developing “GOP-TV,” a proposed community access TV program, will be among the topics discussed at tomorrow night’s meeting of the Sandwich Republican Town Committee at 7 p.m. at the Riverview School on Route 6A.  If they decide to go ahead with the GOP-TV, Sandwich Republicans owe a thanks to one of their party’s legendary members, the late Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater. Goldwater was the sponsor of the 1984 Cable Franchise Policy and Communications Act that enabled communities to require cable franchises to set aside a cable channel for “public, educational, or governmental use only.” In those pre-Internet, pre-You Tube days, the prescient Goldwater and a few others were determined to expand the marketplace of ideas by encouraging public involvement in mass media.

[ Those curious about Charlie Rose’s John Rigas  interview (ref. yesterday’s post) will want to read the comments on Rose’s site. – rm ]

A conversation with John Rigas
by Annette on Monday

—>  As a valued member of our community, Mr. Rigas, kudos to you for giving Charlie Rose, a consummate professional, an interview. One can only wish you had done this on the stand. What did you pay the attorney’s for? They should be ashamed of themselves, and sending your family a refund. You paid for next to nothing. Perhaps a motion for incompetent counsel should be considered?   —>

Society for New Communications Research Announces Call for Entries for 2008 Excellence in New Communications Awards Program

The Society for New Communications Research (, a nonprofit global think tank dedicated to the advanced study of new media and emerging modes of communication, today announces its call for entries for its 2007 Excellence in New Communications Awards program. The deadline for submissions and nominations is September 28, 2007.

The prestigious awards recognize innovative organizations and individuals who are pioneering the use of new media and communications and social media (i.e. blogs, wikis, podcasts, online video collaborative tools and other new and emerging communications technologies) in the areas of marketing, public relations and internal communications, advertising, media, politics, entertainment, academics, community and cultural development.

The 2007 Excellence in New Communications Awards will be presented at the SNCR Research Symposium & Awards Gala, December 5-6, 2007 in Boston, MA. The leading award winners will be featured in presentations at the Symposium program. Additionally, all of the award-winning case studies will be published in the New Communications Review (

Awards will be granted in six divisions: Corporate, Government, Media, Nonprofit/NGO, Professional (Individual) and Academic in seven categories: Blog, Podcast, Video, Wiki and Collaborative Tools, Community and Virtual Worlds, Mobile Media and Technology Innovation.

In addition, the SNCR Fellows will choose their “Picks of the Year” for the Best New Communicator of the Year, Best New Community of the Year, Social Media Product Innovation of the Year, SNCR Person of the Year and SNCR Organization of the Year.

“The impact and influence of new media has challenged all of us to re-think the status quo, particularly in the areas of communications and marketing. The good news is that many organizations and individuals are already successfully doing this, and it’s my hope that the SNCR Excellence in New Communications Awards will continue to help surface and showcase the thought leadership and imagination that people are pouring into a variety of innovative and successful projects,” said Mike Manuel, chair of the SNCR best practices and awards committee.

BBC’s multimedia player causes row over bandwidth
ISPs gripe that the new multimedia iPlayer may increase in demand for bandwidth.
by Jeremy Kirk
PC World

The British Broadcasting Corp. is under fire from Internet service providers over how its new multimedia player may cause an increase in demand for bandwidth, placing greater stresses on the infrastructure of ISP’s.  It’s the latest controversy to erupt over the BBC’s iPlayer, an application in a public beta that lets people download and watch programs broadcasted within the last seven days. The iPlayer uses peer-to-peer technology, which allows bits of content to be download from other users, at speeds that enable up to 300M-bytes of data to be downloaded per hour.

A BBC spokeswoman said on Monday the broadcaster is in regular discussions with ISPs regarding the costs of downloading video. In a statement, the BBC pushed the issue back to the ISPs, which it said are responsible for pricing, monthly limits on how much data can be downloaded as well as acceptable use polices for their users.  “Inevitably, some ISP packages will be more suitable than others for the download of large amounts of data,” the BBC said in a statement. “All broadband is not equal.”   —>

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

Explore posts in the same categories: FCC, media ownership, PEG access TV, public access television, social media, video franchising

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