Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/31/08

Cable TV Options To Widen For Tennesseans (TN)

State lawmakers are close to passing a bill to give consumers more choices for cable television providers.  Last year, AT&T tried to enter the Tennessee market. There was a lot of resistance from the cable industry, which didn’t want the phone company to just come in and do business wherever they wanted.  Cable providers have spent millions laying the infrastructure and negotiating deals in each of the areas they serve.

It appears that company and lawmakers have worked out a deal.  Last year, state Sen. Bill Ketron tried to pass a bill that would let other cable companies compete in Tennessee.  “I think it would be wonderful,” the Republican from Murfreesboro.  Public support existed, but the bill died.

This year, lawmakers revisited the issue. Private negotiations took place in a conference room, sometimes three times a week since January.  “Comcast, Charter, the cable guys on one side, AT&T on the other side, all the attorneys, working out the details,” Ketron said.  Sources said a deal has been worked out, one that lawmakers will eventually approve.   —>

Tennessee Utility Does IPTV With Kasenna
by Todd Spangler
Multichannel News

[ comments invited ]

Tennessee’s Clarksville Department of Electricity has deployed a new digital video service based on Kasenna’s LivingRoom IPTV middleware and MediaBase video servers.  The new video service, called CDE Lightband, is a triple-play offering that features 200 channels of digital video, an interactive programming guide and video on demand service along with 10-Megabit-per-second Internet and telephony services.

The Clarksville Department of Electricity began offering the services early this year and the service is now available to about 5,000 homes. Full deployment to all of the city’s 55,000 homes and businesses is expected by the end of 2008.

“Kasenna stood out among the IPTV companies we considered because its LivingRoom middleware solution allows us to easily brand and customize the TV user interface and to add valuable services such as RSS feeds for local news,” CDE Lightband telecommunications marketing manager Christy Batts said, in a prepard statement.

AT&T Offers U-verse TV To More Austinites
Telco Ratchets Up Competition On Time Warner Cable In Lone Star State
by Todd Spangler
Multichannel News

AT&T announced that U-verse TV and Internet services are now available to more than 150,000 living units in and around the Austin area, stepping up competition with incumbent Time Warner Cable.  AT&T launched U-verse TV services in Austin in November 2007.   —>

Gardiner should use cable fees for public access
by Bob Demers
Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel (ME)

In “Web Site Seeks Community Involvement,” (March 24), City Manager Jeff Kobrock doesn’t seem to grasp the basics of Public Access TV.  For one thing, he says public access would not be cost-effective for Gardiner. Let’s examine that.

More than 10 years ago, Gardiner received a $30,000 grant from the then-cable operator to set up a Public Access TV studio in Gardiner. The city gave the funds to School Administrative District 11 for its media program.  Later, the city mandated a 5 percent cable franchise fee that collects about $57,000 per year from cable subscribers who have never benefited from this fee in any way related to Public Access TV.

If the cable franchise fees were used as proposed by the Federal Cable Act, the cost of public access could, if well managed, be a wash for the city. You can’t get more cost-effective than that. Of course, it would be awkward to have to move the franchise fee revenue from the general fund to a public access channel fund where it should have gone in the first place. Maybe that’s what Kobrock had in mind as “not being cost-effective.”

Finally, Kobrock says the area already has an Augusta-based channel that serves the area.  Technically true. Functionally, not so. Augusta Channel 9 is a local origination operation, completely commercial, operated by Time Warner solely for profit with no access by the public in any way equivalent to public access.

NPA-TV goes live in April
Norwood Bulletin (MA)

[ comments invited ]

Norwood Public Access TV is excited to announce a series of live broadcasts during the month of April. Tune in on Monday, April 7, at 7:30 p.m. on NPA’s Town Channel and join Joe Curran, Jack McCarthy, and Tim McDonough for NPA’s traditional live coverage of the election results.

Also in April, a Special NPA Sports Edition of Norwood Digest will be broadcast live from the Coakley Soccer Fields on Norwood Youth Soccer’s Opening Day; Saturday, April 12. Starting at 9 a.m., host Jack McCarthy will be interviewing representatives from Norwood’s Spring Youth Sports Programs. NPA-TV’s new Digest reporter Katelyn MacLean will be speaking with NHS Athletics Director Brian McDonough about the upcoming spring season.   —>

It’s Not a Movement Without a Movie
New York City’s activist and advocacy communities are putting themselves and their interests on video like never before.
by Karen Loew
City Limits WEEKLY #633

[ comments invited ]

At a community gathering in Chinatown one stifling hot evening last August, a man sat on a chair holding a stack of newspapers, thrusting the Chinese Staff & Workers’ Association bulletin at passersby, exhorting them to take one.

Whether turned off by the man’s sweaty frustration, or not up for a long read about the latest struggles of low-wage Chinatown workers, the crowd gathered at Roosevelt Park for an outdoor movie night moved on. Children headed for the popcorn and soda table. Women sat on the folding chairs arranged before a screen. Men milled and smoked, their t-shirts pulled up their backs or over their bellies to catch a little relief from the heat.

The occasion was a “digital garden screening” arranged by Manhattan Neighborhood Network, which runs the public access TV channels in the borough and promotes media-making by regular folks. Convened for the purpose of “celebrating community produced social justice media,” the event unspooled – and the surrounding city blocks fell away – as short videos by New Yorkers about local lives and issues were projected on the screen. Homeless people talked about being homeless, teenage girls interviewed teenage boys about notions of femininity, and public housing residents revealed how to participate in public housing decision making. Never quite professional grade, the quality of the sound, camera work and storytelling varied. Some movies felt endless. Attention flickered.

Then two videos about the worker’s life in Chinatown were played back to back. The first, called “Chinatown: Immigrants in America,” was produced by Downtown Community Television and portrayed kitchen staff and seamstresses discussing their overlong work weeks: inhumane schedules allowing for barely any rest or recreation. The second film was made by the Chinese Staff & Workers’ Association – the same group that was having trouble unloading its free newspapers. Called “Celebrating CSWA Victories of 2006,” it showed exactly that – footage of workers alongside politicians announcing advances for neighborhood laborers.

In the mostly Chinese audience, the women watched. The men stopped talking. Children were still. Everyone was rapt, and at a little after 9 p.m. when it was over, they applauded for the first time of the night.

The explosion

Videos made by grassroots documentarians – who often are not professional filmmakers – about local issues and aimed at raising consciousness have risen to a more prominent, even ubiquitous, place in city movements for social change.  Name a cause, and you’ll find an advocacy video on the subject – or you’ll find a few, or at least be told there’s one in the works. With the tools of video production more affordable and accessible than ever before, and more people reflexively turning to video for expression, New York City finds itself awash in a sea of video by the people, about their concerns, for the purpose of affecting the discourse.   —>

Shaping Canadian Web Access Revisited
by Connie Crosby


Last week Simon Fodden caught all of us up on the issue of “throttling” of web access by Bell Canada that broke in the news in his post When It All Goes Peer Shaped. This issue has continued to be the talk of the tech industry all week with no indication of letting up.

The crux of the story is that Canadians are being denied access to certain aspects of the Internet with ISPs Bell and Rogers making the decisions as to which parts are denied, including access to peer-to-peer downloads of CBC TV episodes to which Canadian taxpayers are legally entitled. This story is quickly making us realize that Canada may not have the web infrastructure we thought we had, and this is one way these companies are trying to deal with it; however, it feels like there has been a lack of transparency in the way they are dealing with it and presenting it to the public.

What has helped me understand this better is a post by Toronto business technology expert Sandy Kemsley on her blog Column 2: Jason Laszlo gives Bell Canada a(nother) Black Eye.   —>

Canadian union decries ISP bandwidth issues
by Etan Vlessing
The Hollywood Reporter

A major Canadian media union on Monday urged the country’s TV regulator to investigate online “traffic shaping” by Internet service providers after an attempt last week by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. to upload a DRM-free TV program to online users via BitTorrent was severely hampered.

“On behalf of the National Union of Public and General Employees … I am asking the CRTC to conduct an investigation into these practices and the implications for Canadian consumers,” NUPGE president James Clancy said in a letter to CRTC chairman Konrad Von Finckenstein that was released to the public Monday.

The NUPGE cited high-speed Internet access provider Bell Sympatico for recent efforts to control its customers’ use of peer-to-peer download and upload technology like BitTorrent.  The union said attempts by online users to upload the CBC TV show “Canada’s Next Great Prime Minister” from BitTorrent were greatly slowed by ISPs, which limited the available bandwith for the file-sharing.  “This means that those Canadians, who are Bell or Rogers Internet service subscribers, wishing to download this show from their public broadcaster will be hampered in their efforts,” NUPGE’s Clancy told the CRTC.

The union head argued that BitTorrent represents legal technology for which “there are many legitimate uses.”  The CBC became the first North American broadcaster to make a TV show available for free and without DMR restrictions for download via BitTorrent.  NUPGE pointed to an ongoing FCC investigation into online traffic shaping by U.S. cable giant Comcast, and urged the CRTC to do likewise with ISPs north of the border.  “Our neighbours to the south are taking this form of interference in Internet service very seriously,” the Canadian media union said.

WAM Addresses Inequalities In Media Representations, Access
Global Wire

[ comments invited ]

The Women, Action and the Media Conference (WAM) began five years ago with a mandate to improve news coverage of women, people of color and other marginalized groups through grassroots media reform. With the advent of popular social networks like My Space, Facebook, You Tube and a deluge of blogs, opportunities has been provided for traditionally shut out voices to get a spotlight…

While there is a revolution taking place in cyberspace, there are still large segments of American society that are being left out of the new digital frontier. With nearly half of Americans not having high speed internet access in their homes and a larger number being forced to switch from analog to digital television by next year, there were also workshops on how to close the digital gap.  In a workshop called “Media, Technology and Social Justice,” attendees had an interactive discussion about what needs to be done to make technology available to all….

What are the key trends preventing Media Justice?
• Lack of diversity
• Equality in access to all mediums
• Fairness and accountability
• Media obsession with celebrity
• Entertainment posing as news
• Mass media appeal to large groups rather than community building
• Privacy at risk
• Glamorization of violence
• Devaluing poor people

• More media justice lobbyists in DC to work on these issues
• Universal internet access
• Community training on web tools
• More internet cafes, especially in low income communities

Dar summit to discuss role of media in conflict prevention
by Francis Ayieko
The EastAfrican

The role of the media in providing early warning signs of potential political conflicts in East Africa is to be the subject of a major media summit to be held in Tanzania this April.  Jointly organised by the East African Business Council and the East African Community, the two-day regional summit is to discuss the role of media in the prevention of conflicts and instability, which have the potential to affect business in the region.

Taking the theme Role of the Media in Addressing the Causes of Conflict and Instability and Their Prevention, the summit, which will be held in Dar es Salaam from April 11-12, comes in the wake of post-election violence that hit Kenya recently following announcement of disputed presidential election results.   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: BitTorrent, cable franchising, cable vs telco, digital divide, election programming, IPTV, media justice, net neutrality, PEG access TV, public access television, U-Verse, video franchising

One Comment on “Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/31/08”

  1. […] on Community Media: Selected Clippings – 03/31/08: Cable TV Options To Widen For Tennesseans (TN) 03/31/08 State lawmakers are close […]

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