Community Media: Selected Clippings: 08/15/07

Benefits of access
Editorial: Daily Journal (IL)

Suppose Kankakee County had public access television.

* One could tune in to watch a debate among local political candidates.
* One could see his or her school board in action.
* One could watch the Bradley Christmas parade.

Such activities regularly happen in other towns. Kankakee County government is now considering whether to add a local public access station. Setting up a studio would cost an estimated $50,000. Just setting up a system that would allow people to bring in prerecorded tapes would cost about $10,000.

That is, in perspective, a tiny drop in the government bucket. Each year, Comcast pays Kankakee County $244,000 in franchise fees. The fee, quite logically, would entirely offset the cost of providing the public with extra information, with plenty left over.  And, in a philosophical sense, what should a fee from a cable television company be used for? Most likely, to improve cable services. This being Kankakee County, however, it gets sucked down the drain of endless government costs.  Money is a funny thing in Kankakee County government. Millions to expand the jail to bring in convicts? Okely dokely, as Ned Flanders would say on “The Simpsons.” Pennies for better public information? No way.

We live in the information age. Kankakee city government, in conjunction with this newspaper, is steadily expanding WiFi capability throughout the metro area. Why? Because it’s the future.  Cutting off public access to save, oh, 50 cents a subscriber is living in the past. The phrase “penny-wise and dollar-foolish” comes to mind.  If a public network existed, it would build community pride. It would build community participation in democracy. It might even help provide training for young people toward the job market of the future.

All those are worthwhile goals. We believe public access, properly handled and nurtured, will help build the community.


Commission OKs new community access channel
by Gordon Weixel
Bismarck Tribune (ND)

The city of Bismarck will request Midcontinent Cable Company to provide a second community access channel, which is expected to be on the air sometime early in 2008.  Community Access Television executive director Mary Van Sickle made the proposal for a second community channel at Tuesday’s city commission meeting.

Van Sickle explained that Bismarck’s community access channel receives heavy use, particularly in televising of local government meetings. With the extra PEG (Public, Educational, Government) channel, CATV will move all local government programming to its own channel, while the additional channel will allow greater exposure of other local programming along with expansion of new programs.

Government programs, according to Van Sickle are difficult to program because the length of the programs are difficult to determine. Yet specific blocks of time have to be set aside for the purpose of scheduling of all programs.

CATV channel 12 has been in operation for 20 years, and the city’s cable franchise contract calls for Midcontinent to provide up to four channels at the city’s request. Van Sickle pointed out that Grand Forks and Fargo presently use two channels for community access.   —>

Verizon faulted over lack of access
Herald News (NJ)

CLIFTON — If you pick Verizon, you won’t get City Council meetings. Or Board of Education meetings. Or any other event transmitted over Clifton’s public access channel.  Several residents are complaining to city officials that Verizon employees have been saying that if they switch to Verizon’s FiOs TV Service from Cablevision they will get local programs, said Councilwoman Gloria Kolodziej.   The city recently sent a letter to Verizon asking the company to stop the misinformation, she said.

Verizon doesn’t yet offer public access channels in New Jersey, Heather Wilner, a company spokeswoman said in a telephone interview from New York Tuesday. The telephone and high-speed Internet access company expanded in January to offer television service across the state but hasn’t completed interconnection negotiations with local cable television service providers, which would allow Verizon to broadcast public access programs, she said.   —>

Get your questions ready: Rec panel on TV this Sunday
West Brach Times (IA)

Mayor Sandy Hatfield wants an answer: After seven years, numerous meetings and a scaled-down version of the original project, do the city and school finally have the kind of recreation center proposal West Branch residents want?  “We want to present the package to the community and have them say yes or no — not maybe — but yes or no,” she said.

The latest, $5.2 million version will appear on West Branch’s public access cable television 6 p.m. Sunday.  A panel made up of steering committee members will offer a PowerPoint presentation and answer questions from the public in a show that could last up to 90 minutes.   —>

ePluribus Media at YK07: As Seen on CAN TV!
by Kay Shepherd
ePluribus Media

One of the extracurricular activities we undertook at YearlyKos 2007 was a trip to Green Street and the Chicago Access Network studios, a production facility for the area’s five-channel public access television network. We learned a great deal about their citizen programming as well as their outreach to at-risk youth. We also spent an interesting half-hour talking about citizen journalism (and lots of other stuff) with Frank Avila, a noted trial lawyer and host of CAN TV’s “Issue Forum.”  Watch ePluribUS at Google TV!

Public Dedication for New Library Sept. 9
Coeur D’Alene Public Library News (ID)

The other major feature of the Parkside level is the Community Room – serving as the main site for the library’s future programs, for community events and as the City Council Chambers. This level also features two smaller meeting rooms and the facilities for the city’s Channel 19 cable TV access.

Sascha Meinrath joins New America Foundation as Research Director of Wireless Program
by Esme Vos

The New America Foundation has named Sascha Meinrath, a frequent contributor to, as the new research director of its Wireless Future Program. Many of you know Sascha from his commentaries on our site and some of you have met him at our Muniwireless events, where he has been a speaker.

The New America Foundation is very fortunate to have Sascha on board. He has done so much for community wireless networks in the US and around the world by sharing his knowledge and helping people get networks off the ground. He went down to New Orleans in 2005 after the Katrina hurricane to help set up emergency communications (read his extensive Q&A about the New Orleans network here).    —

Will an “Exaflood” Slow Net Traffic?
Tech Policy Summit

The Wall Street Journal published a story yesterday about whether or not the Internet’s infrastructure is reaching its capacity with the increased usage of bandwidth-intensive apps like video, VoIP and peer-to-peer file swapping. Here’s a snippet from the Journal:

“One of the key possibilities for 2007 is that the Internet could be approaching its capacity,” analysts at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu wrote in a January report. “Our belief is we’ll start to see some brownouts or service slowdowns or service issues,” says Phil Asmundson, the national managing partner leading Deloitte & Touche USA’s Telecommunications practice.

But some analysts and Internet companies such as Google Inc. play down the idea that there’s an impending crunch, pointing to the forecasters’ poor track record of predicting such problems. There are also political implications to the debate. As part of the “network neutrality” scuffle in Washington, telecommunications companies say Internet companies should help foot the bill for more data lines and equipment if they’re sending lots of video traffic at high speed to consumers.”

While it’s not exactly a new debate, the growing popularity of online video in particular has made the issue a hot topic. Research from Cisco Systems predicts that video will be responsible for as much as 30% of all consumer Internet traffic in 2011, up from 9% last year. Cisco is one of those that is confident that new technologies can enable the Internet’s infrastructure to handle that and more. According to the Journal, Paul Bosco, Cisco’s VP for video and broadband initiatives reassures that network operators and providers are “staying ahead of the curve.”

That’s not good enough for a new group called the Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA), which issued a press release yesterday that said: “We’re pleased Cisco pointed out an emerging problem regarding the exponential increase in data on the internet. However, we believe this explosion of content – coined the exaflood – is straining the Internet’s capacity to deliver innovative new applications that will benefit consumers and our economy.”

IIA, whose members include a variety of companies and non-profits including AT&T and Nortel (see the complete list here), wasn’t mentioned in the WSJ’s article. Still, the group is doing its best to build awareness of a pending “exaflood” of Net traffic. It wants policymakers to promote competition between broadband providers, while avoiding excessive regulation. A couple of the policy initiatives it supports are video franchise reform and a permanent moratorium on Internet taxes.

FW launches ‘JohnTV’ in prostitution battle
by Darla Miles

Fort Worth – Public humiliation by means of television has become a new form of punishment for anyone arrested for selling or buying sex in Fort Worth.  In response to community-voiced criticism over area prostitution, “JohnTV” launched Tuesday.  …Now, police have launched JohnTV, which officials said they hope will “shame” men such as those arrested in 2006.  Online and on the city’s access community cable channel, faces of “Johns” were posted. The city will update the faces every month.   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Director of Information & Organizing Services
Alliance for Community Media
web: http:/

Explore posts in the same categories: cable vs telco, IPTV, municipal broadband, municipal programming, municiple wi-fi, PEG access TV, public access television, video franchising

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