Community Media: Selected Clippings – 11/01/07

Some support for cable competition bill eroding
by Mark Pitsch
Wisconsin State Journal

Some union support for a controversial cable competition bill is eroding over worries it will kill off public access channels and fail to generate the jobs supporters promise.  The concerns emerged this week as AB 207 vaulted onto the fast track for approval after lying dormant since May while lawmakers worked out a new, two-year state budget.   —>

Cable Competition Bill
by Bryan Bain
Bain-Blog (WI)

Yesterday, the Joint Finance Committee voted 13-3 in favor of the so-called cable competition bill (AB207/SB107). Unfortunately, Wisconsin is on path to pass a bill that is more friendly to AT&T than us as consumers. It also threatens funding for PEG stations such as OCAT.  In response, I sent a letter (pdf) to the members of the JFC asking the legislators why Wisconsin citizens and communities deserve less than our neighbors in Illinois? I also urged them and their colleagues to support a bill that protects Wisconsin public access television and the rights of Wisconsin consumers. Now, I urge you to do the same.

Contact Senator Roessler and Representatives Hintz and Owens and ask them to support OCAT and Wisconsin consumers by supporting an “Illinois version” of the bill in Wisconsin.  For more information, check out the Save Access Wisconsin Web site.

Waterford, AT&T at odds over franchise pact
by Stephanie Schneider
Spinal Column Online (MI)

Waterford Township and AT&T are currently at loggerheads over provisions of a franchise agreement, according to township Supervisor Carl Solden.  Waterford officials believe the company’s franchise agreement isn’t valid yet, while AT&T representatives state they are being asked to pay too much to the community in fees.   —>

Local cable channel’s view called one-sided by candidate
by Ed Richter
Middletown Journal (OH)

TV Middletown touts itself as being positively Middletown.  However, mayoral candidate Paul Nagy said the city’s local cable access channel won’t give any air time for those who oppose public levies and are using the channel in a partisan way.  He also claimed the channel was “going overboard” in airing only one side of the issue.  On Monday, Nagy sent an e-mail about that and other issues to city Law Director Les Landen and asked that he file suit on behalf of Middletown residents, have their funds withdrawn or “immediately make arrangements for new operators.”  Nagy said the channel should be responsible for fair and equitable service to all citizens of Middletown because it receives city funding.

Landen responded that “TV Middletown is a nonprofit corporation separate and apart from the city.” He said if Nagy had any complaints he should contact the channel’s board of directors. Also, Landen said once Middletown City Council makes its contribution to TV Middletown, the channel can use those funds as it sees fit because “it loses its character as tax dollars.”   —>

Redefining Media: Media Democracy and Community Radio
A CKUT 20th Anniversary Event
Airwaves & Liberty

In celebration of Media Democracy Day on October 18th, CKUT hosted its first annual media conference from October 19th to 21st, 2007. The goal of this conference was to provide participants with a critical understanding of media democracy, diversity and representation in the media. It will focus primarily on community radio and the ways in which it can be used to provide the public with clear, accurate, and representational viewpoints and information, while actively combating stereotyping according to race, gender, ethnicity and other factors.


*  KEYNOTE: Amy Goodman
*  Canadian Media and The War on Terror
*  Anti-Oppression and Community Radio
*  Community Radio Around the Globe
*  Indigenous Radio
*  Women in Community Radio
*  Community Radio and the CRTC
*  Human Rights Journalism and Youth Radio
*  Copyright and Community Radio
*  Direct Action Radio
*  New Technologies and Community Radio,
*  Radio, Art and Freedom of Thought
*  Closing Plenary Discussion: What is Media Democracy?

Groups Seek Stop to Comcast Net Meddling
Consumer Groups Ask FCC to Fine Comcast, Stop It From Hindering File Sharing
by Peter Svensson, AP
Yahoo Finance

A coalition of consumer groups and legal scholars on Thursday formally asked the Federal Communications Commission to stop Comcast Corp. from interfering with its subscribers’ file sharing.  Two of the groups are also asking the FCC to fine Comcast $195,000 for every affected subscriber.  The petitions will be the first real test of the FCC’s stance on “Net Neutrality,” the long-standing principle that Internet traffic be treated equally by carriers. The agency has a policy supporting the concept but its position hasn’t been tested in a real-world case.   —>

Where’s broadband?
by Thomas G. Robinson

Back in the early ‘90s, “Where’s broadband?” was akin to asking “Where’s Waldo?,” because provision of residential broadband services was difficult to find in a sea of dial-up connections. Now, though, the NCTA indicates that cable modem service is available to 94 percent of all U.S. households. DSL providers also claim high availability rates, and then there are seemingly endless Wi-Fi hot zones and full city-wide Wi-Fi builds proceeding in some locales. At first glance, it would seem that nearly everyone should be able to successfully access a broadband connection.

The key word, though, is “successfully.” In a number of cases, access to broadband is still hampered by a lack of availability. As you travel throughout the U.S., especially rural America, you can hear the cries of frustration from residents, businesses and city officials. They can’t get commercial wireline or wireless providers to extend service, because the low household density in their area creates a payback that is longer than the commercial, Wall Street-focused business model will allow.

It is truly ironic, then, when some of the rural local governments subsequently consider government-sponsored wireless networks, that there may be significant action at the state level to block a locality’s ability to pursue such initiatives. As local governments who have testified in front of state committees on such initiatives have indicated, they would be happy in many cases not to have to pursue broadband network development themselves and would welcome competition into the market, but they can’t even get a single commercial provider to offer service to low-density areas.

The House Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee recently began developing a bill called the Broadband Census of America Act to try to finitely define where broadband availability is still an issue. If it really is only 6 percent of the American population, it must be a massive amount of land area that encompasses the 6 percent, based on reports from local governments and their residents all across the country.   —>

Fiber’s Open Spaces
by Martin Vilaboy
IP Business

There may be up to 360 providers currently offering fiber to the home in the U.S., but Verizon, it’s estimated, accounts for about two thirds of the 2.14 million U.S homes now connected to fiber. It’s safe to assume, however, that not many of the homes Verizon is passing reside in rural areas, as suburban and urban regions with higher concentrations of office locations are likely to produce lower hanging fruit. The resulting wide open spaces being left behind by the former Bell company create a landscape that’s all too familiar to rural telcos, and it appears these rural carriers are increasingly optimistic about their abilities to protect those territories.   —>

Editor’s Letter: Fiber Optic Nerve
by Drew Ruble
Business Tennessee Magazine

The last thing a person would expect to find after pushing through the solid brass doors of the nearly century-old neoclassical Giles County courthouse on the historic downtown Pulaski square is a high-tech communications nerve center.But inside, beneath the contemporary offices of “PES Energize,” the telecommunications services arm of local utility Pulaski Electric Service, which is headquartered there, lies a state-of-the-art data center housed within a tornado-proof bunker with fully redundant systems ready to support any size off-site data storage need.

It’s also the focal point of a publicly owned and operated $8.2 million fiber-optic network providing high-speed Internet access and other telecom services through pieces of glass cable weaving like a piece of spaghetti to every home, business, factory and school in Pulaski (pop. 7,875).  This is not your stereotypical sleepy rural electric system.   —>

Local men pursue broadband solution
by Howard Weiss-Tisman (VT)

WESTMINSTER — On a cold, winter day this past January, John Rais was sharing a pot of coffee with his friend, Scott Wendel, and listening to the radio.  News came on about Gov. Jim Douglas’ plan to form a telecommunications authority that would address the sorry state of high speed Internet access and cell phone coverage in the remote hills and valleys of Vermont.

The two engineers hardly needed a reminder that moving bits of information is slower than navigating a dirt road in mud season.  Rais still has dial-up service from his home office on Morse Brook Road, and even his office in Saxtons River, which has a so-called high-speed land line, is painfully slow when it becomes clogged with competing data.

So on that January day, with the clarity-inducing caffeine running through their veins, Rais and Wendel formed J.R. Engineering and decided to do something about the problem…  Rais and his partners want to bring an optical carrier, or OC-3, network to deliver high speed service across the state.  The OC-3 network is wireless and uses microwave technology to transport data.   —>

Testimony of Andrew Jay Schwartzman President and CEO, Media Access Project
Presented to the Federal Communications Commission
Common Dreams

For more than 30 years, I have sat on panels such as this. During that time, I have heard the testimony of scores of talented, dedicated commercial broadcasters who have provided meaningful service to their local communities. Few, if any, are more committed to public service than my friend Jim Goodmon.

My testimony today is not about those broadcasters. It is about the much larger number of broadcasters who do little or nothing to address the problems, needs and interests of the communities they are licensed to serve. They are never invited to appear by the NAB or by the Commission. They are the ones who should be called upon to explain why they lack any locally originated programming other than advertisements. They should be asked how they merit a free license for exclusive use of scarce publicly owned spectrum when they don’t provide something – anything – designed to serve the public interest, as opposed to their own private interests. Indeed, although I hope this will soon change, as of now, the Commission’s policy is that radio or TV stations carrying commercials or home shopping presentations 24 hours a day are presumed to be operating in the public interest.   —>

The FTC’s advertising town hall, and our new privacy channel
by Pablo Chavez
Google Public Policy Blog

The rapid growth of the Internet — and the promise of future growth — has been driven primarily by online advertising. Web sites and search engines are able to provide valuable services to consumers for free due in large part to advertiser funding. Like commercials on television and ads in newspapers and magazines, online ads have become staples of the Internet medium. Without them, many web sites would either have to charge subscription fees or would simply cease to exist.

At the same time, one of the most powerful aspects of the Internet is its ability to personalize information for each particular user. Personalization allows consumers to receive the information, content, and products they want. The same holds true for online advertising. Targeted online advertising benefits consumers by showing them ads that are useful, relevant, and pertain to their particular interests.

This week, we’re joining consumer advocates, technology experts, and academics for the Federal Trade Commission’s two-day “town hall” meeting on behavioral advertising. This is the first time since 2000 that the Commission has taken an industry-wide look at online advertising practices, and given the recent acquisitions in the space by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL and others, it’s a good time to explore the privacy implications of new ad technologies, and in an industry-wide way. A few Googlers will be on hand to discuss principles that can guide online advertising in the future.   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: broadband policy, cable vs telco, community radio, copyright, FCC, human rights, internet censorship, localism, media diversity, media ownership, media reform, municipal broadband, net neutrality, P2P, PEG access TV, privacy, public access television, rural broadband, U-Verse, video franchising, youth media

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: