Archive for the ‘Connect Kentucky’ category

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 04/16/08

April 20, 2008

Saving tctv2 a true service
Editorial: Traverse City Record Eagle (MI)
04/16/08

The Land Information Access Association is a local nonprofit that up to now has specialized in putting land use, resource and environmental information into easily-accessible formats to help residents, planners and governments make better land-use decisions.  Now — just in time, it appears — the LIAA is broadening the scope of its educational mission to include rescuing public-access television station tctv2 from the trash heap.

It’s going to need some financial help; hopefully, some of that will come from area governments still meeting their obligations under old franchise agreements and some from a few townships that essentially reneged on old promises. Other funds are expected from services such as production assistance and studio rentals.

Back in the day, tctv2 was sitting pretty. It had a decent revenue flow, it had pretty good facilities at Northwestern Michigan College and there was a steady, if low-key, flow of locally produced programs. Some were exactly what the term public access TV brought to mind — tepid discussions on arcane subjects or variations on the home movie theme. Others, however, were creative and informative, exactly what a lot of people hoped public-access television would be.

Probably the most popular offerings were the live broadcasts of Traverse City commission meetings on Monday nights. The deathly dull always seemed to be offset by some bit of local politics that kept people watching.  Those broadcasts were a great precedent for the region. They brought local politics into area living rooms and helped raise awareness of local issues. They also led directly to similar efforts by Traverse City schools, Grand Traverse County (finally) and some local townships.   —>
http://www.record-eagle.com/opinion/local_story_107100152.html
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NB considers public access arts channel
by Jessica Musicar
The World (OR)
04/15/08

[ 2 comments ]

NORTH BEND — Coos County viewers looking to make a stronger connection to the local arts scene won’t have to leave their living rooms to do so, if the city of North Bend supports an area television station’s effort to start up a new channel.  Officials from Coos Bay-based PEG Broadcasting Services Inc., which records and televises governmental meetings on Channel 14, plan to take up a public access channel dedicated to arts and education, said Don Van Dyke, the president of PEG Broadcasting.

“There’s just tons of things we could cover and we’re talking about the whole county, not just North Bend or Coos Bay,” Van Dyke said.  He added he plans to feature local school bands, debating clubs, science fairs, and shows in a variety of Bay Area theaters. “There’s a lot of talent in this area, especially among the youth, that the public just doesn’t know about.”   —>
http://www.theworldlink.com/articles/2008/04/15/news/doc4804e67f7f4a8358850505.txt
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Democrat Steve Beshear Killing Telecom Subsidy Connect Kentucky?
by Matt Stoller
OpenLeft.com
04/15/08

[ 2 comments ]

I’ve written a fair amount about corruption and the telecom lobby.  One of the nastiest tricks the telecoms use is the notion of universal buildout to grab subsidies and then not do the buildout, which of course creates the need for more subsidies to do universal buildout.  It’s a neat trick.  Connect Kentucky is their current malignant model for doing that, a ‘public-private’ partnership funded by the cash strapped state of Kentucky.  Art Brodsky did a devastating take-down of the nonprofit, and subsequently Hillary Clinton’s internet platform has removed its references to the program which was slated to go national.

As Brodsky’s piece percolated, it generated momentum against the program, which had previously only been subjected to hagiographic pieces about how wonderfully Connect Kentucky spread broadband access.  Fortunately, Governor Steve Beshear just vetoed the program’s funding.   —>
http://openleft.com/showDiary.do;jsessionid=75B2A78C4C668FC689D65C7C47D5778E?diaryId=5170
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Squabble over net neutrality resumes
by Brooks Boliek
The Hollywood Reporter
04/16/08

When the FCC convenes its second hearing on what it calls “network management” Thursday, it will have covered both coasts and the universities that played midwife to the Internet.  Thursday’s hearing at Stanford University in California and February’s at MIT in Boston complete an arc that could be described as the Internet’s Fertile Crescent.  These campuses are the staging ground for what could be the government’s foray into the Internet’s next phase. While the commission calls it network management, most of the people with a stake in the hearing call it network neutrality — a hotly debated policy notion that likely will define just how far a company can go to control what and how fast information flows over the Internet’s backbone.   —>
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/business/news/e3i94a671a1b94ff736b514c84ce14c5d2e
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Verizon FiOS proposes citywide buildout
by Joshua Breitbart
Civil Defense (NY)
04/16/08

[ comments invited ]

Yesterday, Verizon proposed to build a fiber optic network covering all of New York City. The proposal comes just one day after the City’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) published notification of the RFP for cable television providers, which is how you know DoITT’s RFP (request for proposals) and Verizon’s proposal were worked out in tandem over months of closed-door negotiations.

Verizon is offering to finish the installation by midyear 2014, provide a public safety INET (institutional network), pay franchise fees equivalent to five percent of gross revenues on cable TV service, channels for public access. As the precise details emerge and once I’ve had a chance to read the RFP, I’ll give you my assessment on the fine points, but that doesn’t sound like enough off the bat given the scope of the deal.   —>
http://breitbart.wordpress.com/2008/04/16/verizon-fios-proposes-citywide-buildout/
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The Power and Responsibility of our Nation’s Broadcasters
by Tim Robbins
Huffington Post
04/16/089

[ 232 comments ]

The following is my opening keynote speech for the National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas, which I delivered Monday night.

[ audio at Huffington Post ]

Hello, I’m Tim Robbins. I’d like to thank you for the invitation to address you here at the National Association of Broadcasters. When I first received the invitation I was a little confused because the last time I had contact with the national media I seem to remember them telling me to shut the hell up.

I would like to start with an apology. To Rush and Sean, and Billo and Savage and Laura what’s-her-name. A few years ago they told America that because I had different opinions on the wisdom of going to war that I was a traitor, a Saddam lover, a terrorist supporter, undermining the troops. I was appealing at the time for the inspectors to have more time to find those weapons of mass destruction. I was a naïve dupe of left wing appeasement. And how right they were. If I had known then what I know now, if I had seen the festive and appreciative faces on the streets of Baghdad today, if I had known then what a robust economy we would be in, the unity of our people, the wildfire of democracy that has spread across the Mideast, I would never have said those traitorous, unfounded and irresponsible things. I stand chastened in the face of the wisdom of the talk radio geniuses, and I apologize for standing in the way of freedom.

So when they asked me to come speak to you I said, “Are you sure? Me?” And they said, “Yes.”  And I said, “You know, I have a tendency to say things that I believe at the time to be well-intentioned but that are actually traitorous.” And they said, “Sure, cool.” And then I read the press release and it said, “Mr. Robbins will be speaking about the challenges of new media and delivery systems.” Oh, OK. But I just want you to know I’m not sure I know what that fucking means.  But it is an honor to be speaking to you here at this years National Association Broadcasting convention even if I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about.   —>
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tim-robbins/addressing-the-national-a_b_96836.html
Also posted at AlterNet – 25 comments: http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/82510/
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Legislators Take Aim at FCC Localism Proposals
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin Receives Letter from More than 120 Legislators
by John Eggerton
Broadcasting & Cable
04/16/08

[ comments invited ]

The National Association of Broadcasters got support Wednesday in its fight against proposed new localism obligations.  More than 120 legislators signed onto a letter to Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin asking him not to impose any localism mandates on broadcasters.  A copy of the letter was released by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), but included Democrats, as well.  The letter said the FCC is considering a “radical reregulation” of broadcasting and takes aim at FCC proposals to create community-advisory boards, to require broadcasters to report on programmning in a variety of categories and to locate their studios in their community of license and have their stations staffed at all times.   —>
http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6552169.html?display=Breaking+News&referral=SUPP&nid=2228
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The Future of Community Radio
by Greg Guma
Toward Freedom
04/16/08

Will audiences keep tuning in to radio if the information and music they want can be more easily accessed by other means? Can FM compete with the quality and reliability of new portable devices? And will listeners continue to pay attention to long fund drive pitches? These are some of the difficult questions public and community radio must answer in the near future.

At the moment blogs are undermining newspapers, DVRs and TiVo are allowing viewers to skip commercials and time-shift the viewing of their preferred shows, and iPods are revolutionizing the way we access and consume music. The good news is that there are traits and features specific to radio that can help. But broadcasters need to open themselves to the inevitable convergence with new media and the Internet.

So, how can community radio prepare for the future? Three ways: embrace convergence, focus on unique and thematic content, and use radio’s traditional strengths while combining them with the power of new technologies. This can lead to a new form of radio that doesn’t abandon the airwaves, but also brings quality programming that can’t be found elsewhere to new audiences and emerging media platforms.

What are Radio’s strengths, especially those can be leveraged and integrated with some of the new opportunities?   —>
http://towardfreedom.com/home/content/view/1283/1/
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Teletubbies, Digital Zapatistas, Viral Marketing, Sign “Bombing”
by Elizabeth Coffman
elizabeth coffman’s guerilla media weblog (IL)
04/16/08

[ comments invited ]

Guerilla Media Class is nearing the end of the Spring 08 semester. Students are preparing their final community media projects and updating their blogs. I will report on the final projects soon.  The projects range from persuading Loyola Chicago’s Public Safety office to donate ‘found’ or abandoned bikes on campus to the student Bike Club, (who will place them for free around campus), to unconventional promotional efforts for a new musician, who is giving away his music online for free, to sign ‘bombings’ on a variety of issues, including guerilla support for 3rd Party Political candidates, as well as a project that documents “random encounters” on the Chicago El by the women’s rugby team, in full uniform and covered with mud.

Our readings on guerilla media, our guest speakers, our field trip to CANTV and LUC’s new Information Commons have helped us to see the digital spectrum as ranging from political activism to viral marketing, and to think through Habermas’s ideas of the ideal public sphere. The public, the market and participatory culture redefine how politics, economy, art, and pop culture interweave and overlap in old and new media arenas. From blogging in Ethiopian elections to radio listening clubs in Malawi, from the Guerilla Girls to Second Life, the participatory power of new media is obvious.   —>
http://ecoffman.wordpress.com/2008/04/16/teletubbies-digital-zapatistas-viral-marketing-sign-bombing/
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Zambia: No Politicians on Community Radio Boards – Nyirenda
The Times of Zambia
04/16/08

The Government has said that politicians should not be on the board of directors for community radio stations to avoid political interference in the editorial content of such institutions.  Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary, Emmanuel Nyirenda yesterday told the Parliamentary Watchdog Committee chaired by Namwala member of Parliament (MP) Robbie Chizhyuka (UPND).  Mr Nyirenda appeared before the Committee on Information and Broadcasting Services to explain the role of community radio stations in the promotion of governance and national programmes.

He said community radio stations were cardinal to the country’s democracy and should therefore be supported. Mr Nyirenda said that the Government through his ministry was planning to establish a Media Development Fund. The goal of the fund was to enable community media houses become sustainable and operate without any hindrances. Mr Nyirenda said even if politicians were stopped from sitting on community radio boards, they could still be allowed to participate in their formation and contribute financially.

On the establishment of the Media Development Fund, he said the decision was arrived at after the realisation that the Media Trust Fund (MTF), some donor institutions and religious organisations only supported most community stations. The Media Development Fund would focus on resource mobilisation, funding and supporting both existing and new media organisations and funding capacity building for such organisations.  He said that the funds would ensure the establishment of community radio stations in far flung areas as opposed to them being situated on the line of rail. Mr Nyirenda said this when he addressed concerns raised by Mpika Central MP, Mwansa Kapeya (PF) who wanted to know whether there were any plans to ensure that community radio stations were not only located on the line of rail.   —>
http://allafrica.com/stories/200804160434.html
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki:  http://ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 02/11/08

February 12, 2008

Hang-ups remain for Verizon in Northport
by Tim Healy
Newsday (NY)
02/11/08

[comments allowed]

Representatives from Verizon visited Northport Thursday night to update the Village Board on the company’s efforts to offer television service to residents.  Verizon has been installing a fiber optic network in the village and currently offers telephone and Internet service but has not reached an agreement with the village to complete the “triple play” with a television franchise.

Franchise talks between the utility and the village have made some progress, according to James Matthews, the village attorney, but sticking points remain. Village officials are concerned about the installation schedule and how long it will take for all residents to be offered the service. To date, the utility has said it would take no longer than five years to get to everyone, although it would try to do so sooner…

“I would not vote for the franchise until I see which properties are not going to receive service,” initially, trustee Henry Tobin to the Verizon representatives.  Also among the issues pending is the size of a grant that Verizon would pay to the village to cover the cost of public access, educational and government programming. Known as a PEG grant, Verizon has offered $5,000, but trustee Thomas Kehoe wants the utility to match an additional $25,000 over three years that Verizon gave to the village of Farmingdale in a franchise agreement there.   —>
http://www.newsday.com/news/local/suffolk/ny-linorth0211,0,4709521.story
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Where PEG Fits In Squarely
by Kent Gibbons
Multichannel News
02/11/08

[comments allowed]

At a public hearing in New York City on Jan. 17, a man stood up and told city officials about a category of local programming that is cable-exclusive.  “You’re not going to find this on satellite,” the man said. “You’re going to find it on cable.”

The unusual thing was, the man doesn’t work for a cable company, or even one of those for-profit programmers that rely on cable distribution to earn their profits.  The man, Michael Knobbe, runs Bronxnet, the nonprofit organization that operates four public-access channels on Cablevision Systems, available to about 300,000 Bronx residents. The hearing was part of Cablevision’s renewal of an expired franchise in the borough…

Knobbe told me Bronxnet gets along well with Cablevision. There doesn’t seem to be any threat to its four channels, although he’d like more funding in order for equipment upgrades, such as getting more digital servers to replace older tape machines. The channel operates from a sub-basement in Lehman College, and a flood several months ago knocked out a studio (since reopened) and an editing suite.

Speakers at the public hearing pleaded for more staff at Bronxnet, whose model is to make professional productions and use them to train school kids and other volunteers in TV production. Some Bronxnet shows, including a documentary about the Hunts Point commercial area of the borough, have won local Emmys. Knobbe also would like money for satellite locations.  “You’d be surprised. People watch this channel,” Bronx attorney David P. Lesch, a frequent guest on Bronxnet talk show Open , told me before one such appearance. “My clients watch it.”   —>
http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6530797.html?q=bronxnet
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Students conserve to save the Earth
by Myrna Feare
Danvers Herald (MA)
02/11/08

[comments allowed]

High school students are becoming conscious of the environment and try to work toward saving the planet. One of the most popular venues for achieving their goal is through an environmental club. Jeff Gallo is the facilitator of the Danvers High School association….

Pamela Irwin, recycling coordinator for the town, said the kids do a great job.  “His students wrote and designed a flyer about storm-water protection, which they distribute to the neighborhood they’re doing the stenciling in,” Irwin said…

“The school is definitely encouraging increased recycling and community involvement,” Gallo said. “I think we’re moving in the right direction in that regard.”

Social studies teacher Jacquelyn White teaches a course in community service. This past semester, students did projects on recycling awareness and on nonprofits, creating videos for both, which will be seen on Danvers Community Access TV…

…For information on recycling in Danvers, watch the new DPW video featuring Pamela Irwin, recycling coordinator, on Danvers Community Access Television: Channel 9 or 22 —>
http://www.wickedlocal.com/danvers/homepage/x1224706807
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SpankOut Day Events Planned in Grand Rapids
Media Mouse (MI)
02/11/08

[comments allowed]

April 30, 2008, will be Grand Rapids’ first “SpankOut Day”. Parents and caregivers are being asked to use any of the various approaches to effective, positive, and non-violent disciplinary practices during that day. There are many effective, non-hurtful approaches to child discipline and these techniques will be highlighted through several planned community events and on-going resources…. These events, all in Grand Rapids, are free and open to the public:

—>    * April 3, Thursday, 7pm, 1118 Wealthy SE: “IGE Talks” open discussion on spanking, aired on public access TV;

* April 16: SEE-TV show (on public access television): Panel discussion. “Peaceful Parenting, Peaceful World”. Panelists: Richa (moderator), peace activist; Rosalynn Bliss, child welfare worker and City Commissioner; Savator Selden-Johnson, Department of Human Services, and Sarah Scott-Brandt, artist and parent of a young child;   —>
http://www.mediamouse.org/features/021108spank.php
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compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki:  http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 01/18/08

January 20, 2008

Media group calls for release of two Afghan journalists
AFP-Google
01/16/08

KABUL — Reporters Without Borders has called on the Afghan government to release two journalists accused of blasphemy, for which conservative religious clerics have demanded the death penalty.  The international media watchdog said Thursday it was concerned about the fate of the men, arrested separately about two months ago.

Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh, 23, was picked up in northern Afghanistan in late October on charges of blasphemy and defaming Islam for distributing articles about the role of women in Muslim society, the group said.  Mohammad Ghaws Zalmai, in his 40s, was arrested in November while trying to escape to Pakistan after an uproar about a translation of the Koran that he distributed and was alleged to “misinterpret” parts of the Muslim holy book.   —>
http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5iiUEgLNDv7K1ZNcZcnVFr9TriKwQ
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City Sponsored Cable Franchise Hearings… (NYC)
by Arthur (3 comments)
LiveJournal
01/18/08

—>   New York City will be holding five (5) public hearings, one in each Borough, to solicit comments from subscribers regarding the NYC CableTV Franchise Renewal of Time Warner Cable, in Manhattan, Brooklyn,Queens and Staten Island and Cablevision, in the Bronx and Brooklyn.Hearings will take place from 3pm-7pm on the following dates and siteswith informative websites. Written and/or oral comments may bepresented at the hearing or to NYC DoITT by submitting comments here.

Bronx: January 17, 2008
Queens: January 22, 2008
Staten Island: January 24, 2008
Brooklyn: January 31, 2008
Manhattan: February 7, 2008
—>
http://community.livejournal.com/newyorkers/3620627.html
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Don’t Change the Channel. Change the System.
by Josh Silver (34 comments)
The Huffington Post
01/18/08

Mainstream media — especially television — is like an alcoholic that keeps binging, repenting, swearing sobriety, and returning to the bottle. Problem is, it’s the American public that’s getting poisoned by their lethal stew of horse-race election analysis, celebrity gossip and soundbite coverage. We go to the voting booth — a right that people fought and died for — knowing very little about what the candidates actually stand for. And you can forget about any information on candidates like Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul, whom the press has shut out of the debate — literally.

While Wolf Blitzer is throwing softballs at another candidate, Bill O’Reilly is blaming every problem on liberals, and your local news anchor is reporting on a car wreck, we are left without a clue about the issues that count. We don’t know if the president’s “surge” in Iraq is actually working. Or if the recent skirmish between U.S. warships and Iranian speedboats is a real incident or a Pentagon PR stunt. And what are the real implications of China’s $1.4 trillion trade surplus that increases by $1 billion every day? Or what important decision was made by your City Council or school board last night?

Before you shake your head and say that TV doesn’t matter in the age of the Internet, consider this: According to a report recently released by the Pew Research Center, local TV stations remain the No. 1 source of presidential election news. Cable TV news is second; network TV news is third. TV continues to completely dominate as the opinion leader in American politics.

But at some point you need to stop throwing your remote at the TV. Going outside and yelling that you’re “fed up and you’re not going to take it anymore” isn’t working, folks. It’s time to understand what’s really wrong with the media and what’s really needed to fix it. One word: profits.  You can dress up a cash cow and make it look like a news operation, but at the end of the day, they’re milking the information lifeline that nurtures our democracy.   —>
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/josh-silver/dont-change-the-channel_b_82208.html
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Aide’s new job raises no flags for Bredesen
by Bonna Johnson (2 comments)
The Tennessean
01/18/08

Gov. Phil Bredesen said he sees no ethical conflict with his communications director leaving his staff to work for a public affairs firm that represents AT&T, which is engaged in a fierce legislative battle with cable companies.  Bob Corney, who joined the governor’s staff in February 2004, is leaving at the end of the month. He is not permitted to lobby for a year under the state’s ethics law.   —>
http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080118/NEWS0201/801180415
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Bredesen to cave in on AT&T bill?
by R. Neal (1 comment)
TennViews (TN)
01/18/08

Looks like Bredesen is set to cave in on the AT&T cable franchise bill. Coincidentally, his communications director has just left and gone to work for AT&T’s lobbyist.  Gov. Bredesen cites the need to expand broadband access as the justification. I agree we need expanded broadband access. This is not, however, the way to achieve it.   —>
http://www.tennviews.com/node/461
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Bredesen weighs getting involved in AT&T vs. cable
by John Rodgers
Nashville City Paper (TN)
01/18/08

Gov. Phil Bredesen said Thursday he is considering getting involved in the fight between AT&T and the cable industry over creating a statewide television franchise.  But Bredesen, who stayed out of the brouhaha between the two parties last year, said he would not be coming down on the side of AT&T or the cable industry.  Instead, Bredesen said if he got involved it would be to explore ways to deploy more broadband Internet access into rural areas, which he says is currently insufficient.  “It’s particularly acute in rural areas of our state, which as you know I’m concerned very much about promoting business in,” Bredesen told reporters Thursday. “So I think the possibility exists. I’m not promising it.”   —>
http://www.nashvillecitypaper.com/news.php?viewStory=58575
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Connect Kentucky Article Raises Bell Lobby Specter
by Drew Clark (1 comment)
DrewClark.com
01/17/08

Art Brodsky’s 4,789-word article about Connect Kentucky and its offspring Connected Nation has been the talk of telecom circles over the past week…

…What Connect Kentucky doesn’t do, or at least doesn’t advertise doing, is measuring competition in the broadband marketplace. Knowing where broadband is available and where it isn’t available is only the first step in our nation’s broadband quotient. Knowing where broadband competition is available, and who the competitors are, is the crucial next step.

Connect Kentucky and Connected Nation don’t speak much, if at all, about this aspect of broadband mapping. In fact, the Durbin and Inouye bills sidestep this challenge completely. Ed Markey’s “Broadband Census of America Act,” by contrast, clearly states that local information about broadband competitors will be made available to the public. It appears that the Connected Nation approach to broadband mapping, as articulated in the Durbin and Inouye bills, doesn’t contemplate public access to or knowledge about the companies that provide broadband within a given area.   —>
http://www.drewclark.com/connect-kentucky-article-raises-bell-lobby-specter/
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With Comcast Under Fire, Vuze Enjoys Growth Surge
The P2P service claims to have signed up 17 million subscribers since its launch one year ago and says it’s adding 2 million users per month.
by Richard Martin
InformationWeek
01/18/08

While controversy swirls around the struggle between traditional big-pipe entertainment providers to the home — specifically the cable carriers and namely Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA), the nation’s largest cable TV service — and providers of online peer-to-peer content services, particularly BitTorrent, the market for online movies and other forms of content continues to grow apace.

That growth is benefiting startups like Vuze, the P2P service launched last year by Azureus, one of the biggest BitTorrent client software providers.

Calling itself “the world’s most popular entertainment platform for DVD-quality and HD video content,” Vuze claims to have signed up 17 million subscribers since its launch one year ago and says it’s adding 2 million users per month. Last month the Palo Alto, Calif., company announced a $20 million funding round led by New Enterprise Associates. NEA managing director Mike Ramsay, the co-founder and former CEO of TiVo, joined the Vuze board of directors.

Vuze has become involved in the effort to force Comcast to stop slowing traffic on its network devoted to big file-sharing programs, particularly BitTorrent — which is now thought to account for as much as 50% of all Internet traffic in the United States. On Nov. 14 Vuze filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission demanding that the commission set rules governing traffic management by large Internet service providers, and that ISPs be forced to publicly reveal their policies toward traffic filtering and “shaping.”   —>
http://www.informationweek.com/internet/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=205901705
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Show Us Your Reel Brooklyn: A Video Contest for Brooklyn Teens
by The Changeling
Bed-StuyBlog (NY)
01/18/08

I recently received this information about a video contest open to 9-12th graders in Brooklyn. I sounds like an exciting opportunity for a young filmmaker-to-be:

BRIC Arts | Media | Bklyn announces Show Us Your Reel Brooklyn, a borough-wide teen video contest that will launch the new Brooklyn Independent Television show BK 4 Reel. Brooklyn Independent Television is a flagship initiative of Brooklyn Community Access Television (BCAT), a program of BRIC Arts | Media | Bklyn.

Participants in the contest are being asked to send in a 2-3 minute video of Brooklyn from their own unique perspective. The video may be in any genre; however, it must be shot in Brooklyn by a 9th-12th grader who either lives in, or attends high school in, the Borough of Brooklyn…  The contest deadline is February 20, 2008. Official contest entry forms are available at briconline.org/bcat and myspace.com/brooklyntv. Students with specific questions about the contest may write to bk4reel [at] briconline.org.   —>
http://www.bedstuyblog.com/2008/01/18/show-us-your-reel-brooklyn-a-video-contest-for-brooklyn-teens/
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Katonah-Lewisboro communications plan
District looks to improve communications
by Matt Dalen
Lewisboro Ledger (NY)
01/18/08

—>  On Thursday, Jan. 10, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Roelle presented a draft of the district’s new communications plan to the school board, proposing a widespread strategy to disperse information to residents, through more meetings, the Internet, cable television, the media, and “backpack mail” flyers…

… The full “public information plan,” as presented by Dr. Roelle, would include a part-time (60% of the work week) public information officer and webmaster, as well as a full-time cable television coordinator. Money for the public information officer was included in the 2007-08 school budget, but has not yet been spent.  A cable television coordinator would need to be included in a future budget should the school board agree that such a position is needed.  How much a potential coordinator would be paid was not addressed. Dr. Roelle told The Ledger later that he had looked at coordinators in two school districts, which paid between $65,000 and $75,000, but that the district would need to make a decision when and if the position made it into a budget.

“We don’t think we’re maximizing the use of cable television,” said Dr. Roelle. He mentioned ideas for broadcasting student performances, timely discussions and more athletic events on public access television, which in Lewisboro is Channel 20. While some athletic events are now broadcast on Channel 20, not all of them are, and the only school-based talk show is the student-produced Straight Talk, which is broadcast intermittently.   —>
http://www.acorn-online.com/news/publish/lewisboro/27632.shtml
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Support Free Speech! Judge August to Decide on Future of Public Access
by Cynthia Thomet
Akaku: Maui Community Television (HI)
01/18/08

Show your support for public access and Akaku on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 8:15 a.m. at the Second Circuit Court in Wailuku. We are asking supporters to dress in black and appear in court as Judge Joel August presides over Akaku’s case against the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) and the State of Hawaii. Through a controversial and unlawful request for proposal (RFP) process that would put PEG access under the influence of state bureaucracies instead of the general public and community organizations, the DCCA and the State of Hawaii have been attempting to take the public out of public access .   —>
http://www.akaku.org/?p=33
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Canada Begins Curbing Cross-Ownership
Radio World Newspaper
01/18/08

Canada’s communications regulator has instituted a new media ownership policy to maintain “a diversity of voices” in the country’s broadcasting system.  The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has established a new policy restricting cross-ownership. A person or entity will only be permitted to control two of three types of media serving the same market: a local radio or television station or a local newspaper.   —>
http://www.rwonline.com/pages/s.0100/t.10745.html
~

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki:  http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 01/11/08

January 12, 2008

[ Editor’s Note:  More and more press outlets are following blogs’ example by enabling comments on their stories.  Beginning with this issue, “Clippings” will show the number of comments at the time of our publication in parentheses behind the author’s name. Even where no comments are indicated, readers should know that many publications allow them nonetheless.  Whenever you have something to add, we encourage you to participate if possible. The more presence you can give to community media concerns, the better.- rm ]


Lawsuit filed to block Comcast channel moves
by David Ashenfelter
Detroit Free Press (MI)
01/11/08

The city of Dearborn and Meridian Township near Lansing sued Comcast cable in federal court in Detroit today to block a plan that would move local access channels up the dial on Tuesday and require non-digital basic subscribers to get digital converter boxes to continue receiving those channels.  “They are taking away a service that should be provided to subscribers,” said Deborah Guthrie, Meridian Township cable coordinator, after the suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit.   —>
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080111/NEWS01/80111082/0/NEWS01
~

Comcast channel changes opposed
Bill in the works would force return to original format
by Christy Arboscello
Detroit Free Press (MI)
01/11/08

Michigan lawmakers are crafting a bill to reverse Comcast’s plan to exile public access programming from the low-numbered stations to digital-only channels positioned in the 900s.  State Reps. Tory Rocca, R-Sterling Heights, and Steve Bieda, D-Warren, are drafting the bill, which is to go before the Legislature next week. Although it won’t be introduced until after the cable provider’s Tuesday switch, if approved, the bill would require Comcast to revert to the original format.   —>
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080111/NEWS04/801110318/1001/NEWS
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Comcast switch may limit GR’s election coverage
Grand Rapids Press (MI)
01/11/08

GRAND RAPIDS — Jon Koeze, administrator of the city’s cable television access Channel 26, does not score big ratings on most evenings.  Now he is afraid a switch by Comcast cable will ruin one of his biggest nights of the year Tuesday. Comcast’s channel changes planned for Tuesday  City cable subscribers who look for city results from Tuesday’s presidential primary election will not find them on Channel 26.  That is because Comcast is moving its public, educational and government channels to Channel 915 that same day.  Unless viewers have a converter box from Comcast or own the latest digital-compatible television, they will not be able to tune into Channel 915, Koeze said.

“People are going to tune into our channel, and it won’t be there,” said Koeze, who has been cable-casting election results on Channel 26 since 1998.  City Clerk Terri Hegarty said she is bracing for Comcast complaints once voters find out they cannot see the city results Tuesday night.  “I’m very concerned,” she said, adding she rarely sees an election night party where the city’s cable channel is not being watched.

Also disappointed is Jose Capeles, a junior at Central High School and student producer of television shows on Grand Rapids Public School’s educational station.  Capeles, who is working on an issues-oriented program that appears on Channel 27, said his parents and many of his friends will not be able to see his work when Comcast moves the programming to Channel 902.  “Our TV is an older model. It’s as old as me,” said the 17-year-old.

John Helmholdt, a spokesman for Grand Rapids Public Schools, said dozens of parents and students will miss out on viewing student programming, school board meetings and other programs the school system sends out over Channel 27.  Comcast is supposed to be partnering with the school’s public access channels, but most school officials learned of the switch by reading the newspaper, Helmholdt said.

The switch also is affecting the schools’ and city’s ability to use public access channels in their own facilities.  Though the city and schools have numerous televisions that are tuned to the public access channels for internal use, Comcast is offering them only one converter box per building.   —>
http://www.mlive.com/elections/michigan/index.ssf/2008/01/comcast_switch_may_limit_grs_e.html
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Co-owner fears fate of HomeTown TV
He is concerned Channel 19 won’t survive if Comcast pushes it to digital cable
by Chris Sikich (6 comments)
Noblesville Ledger (MI)
01/11/08

Irv Heath switched to satellite TV a while back after being assured he would still receive all of his local channels.  But when the longtime Noblesville resident and businessman switched on his TV, he couldn’t find HomeTown Television Channel 19. “I told them to cut my service,” he said. Heath, 89, went back to cable.

Owned since 2002 by Rick and Nancy Vanderwielen and City Councilman Roy Johnson and his wife Judi, the station based in downtown Noblesville serves about 48,000 people in Hamilton County — none in Sheridan or Carmel — and about 2,000 in Tipton.  Rick Vanderwielen is concerned about HomeTown Television’s future under Comcast, which took over from Insight here Jan. 1.   —>
http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080111/LOCAL/801110357/1015/LOCAL01
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Fulton County investing in public-use studio
by D.L. Bennet
Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA)
01/11/08

In an age when anyone with a hand-held video camera, editing software and a computer can produce clips for the Internet, Fulton County has decided to invest $175,000 to create a public-use TV studio.  Officials hope the investment will jump start a little-used public access cable training program that’s cost $134,000 over the past two years but trained just five potential producers.

County officials say the program’s gotten so little use because Comcast cable didn’t promote it and the company’s Chamblee studio was too far away for most potential users. Officials hope a new studio in south Fulton will spark interest.  “I think it was a great idea,” said Commissioner Bill Edwards, who’s district in south Fulton will house the county’s television production studio. “There is a need. And I think you will see more usage.”   —>
http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/northfulton/stories/2008/01/11/cable0113.html
~

Still No Agreement for Villages/Verizon Franchise
Public Hearing Produced No Immediate Results
by Wendy Karpel Kreitzman
Manhasset Press (NY)
01/11/08

The Great Neck/North Shore Cable Commission’s Dec. 20 public hearing has yet to produce the 15 required signatures for the commission’s franchise agreement with Verizon. The 15 villages — Great Neck, Great Neck Estates, Great Neck Plaza, Kensington, Kings Point, Lake Success, Russell Gardens, Saddle Rock, Thomaston, Flower Hill, Munsey Park, North Hills, Plandome, Plandome Heights and Plandome Manor — all had quorums at the public hearing, but at this time, all 15 villages must approve the franchise agreement before it is finalized and some villages held over their hearings until their January meetings…

First, Cablevision broached the subject of funding for PATC (public access television), and how Verizon will use a “per subscriber” method, which, he said, will produce an unpredictable income. Cablevision, he said, “would be unlikely to do this.”  Cablevision also raised the issue of interconnection, stating that Verizon only wants to pay the costs to “plug in,” to interconnect, and does not want to pay for what Cablevision already has in place.  And Cablevision also said that there is no “enforceable commitment” from Verizon regarding the “build-out,” actually providing lines to provide the service. The process is slated as taking up to five years, with no exact timetable for any areas.   —>
http://www.antonnews.com/manhassetpress/2008/01/11/news/verizon.html
~

Fremont nears end of cable contract negotiations
Cost of new Exeter-Fremont line pegged at $26K
by Katleen D. Bailey
Rockingham News (NH)
01/11/08

The Town of Fremont is nearing the end of contract negotiations with Comcast, the town’s cable television provider.  The Fremont Cable Access/Contract Renewal Committee held a public hearing on the new contract Thursday night…  The committee’s intent is to expand the services offered by Cable Channel 22 to include live broadcasts of town meetings and events. The channel currently offers a bulletin board and taped rebroadcasts of meetings.   —>
http://www.seacoastonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080111/NEWS/801110325/-1/NEWS
~

Town works to bring local access TV to AT&T’s new service
Greenwich Post (CT)
01/11/08

AT&T has begun to install their television service in portions of Riverside and Old Greenwich. At this time, AT&T’s “U-Verse” service does not carry Greenwich’s government access channel.  However, Channel 79 has already begun the process to have government access carried on AT&T’s U-Verse service in the near future. As this is a new service in Connecticut, Greenwich will most likely be the first government access channel to be carried.   —>
http://www.acorn-online.com/news/publish/greenwich/27501.shtml
~

Cable franchise fee hike good for city
by Mark Looker
Modesto Bee (CA)
01/11/08

The Modesto City Council is to be commended for raising the cable TV franchise fee from 3 percent to its full legal limit of 5 percent. It is an action the council should have taken years ago and reflects a common-sense approach to fiscal responsibility.

Likewise, it is hoped the council will act wisely in implementing the new state cable law known as the Digital Infrastructure and Video Competition Act. In doing so, the council would fulfill the city’s strategic plan to “provide equal access to local public television for all sectors of the community.” It is a goal that is shared equally by the public, government and education communities.
http://www.modbee.com/opinion/letters/story/176923.html
~

For-profit TV ads might violate law
Spots on Oak Island public access are questioned
by Shannan Bowen
Star News (NC)

The town of Oak Island uses a public access channel to broadcast town meetings and announcements, but there’s a chance that advertisements showing up on the channel violate federal laws.  Town Attorney Brian Edes said he is investigating the matter and hopes to have an opinion early next week on whether the public access channel is allowed to run advertisements.

Former Mayor Helen Cashwell said she made a complaint in December to the Federal Communications Commission stating that a local salesman was selling advertising on Channel 8, the town’s public access channel.  The FCC responded that federal rules prohibit announcements that promote the sale of goods and services of for-profit entities in return for consideration paid to the station.

According to FCC rules and regulations, “no promotional announcements on behalf of for-profit entities shall be broadcast at any time” on noncommercial educational television stations.  But it is unclear whether Oak Island’s Channel 8 falls under the category of educational TV stations…    —>
http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20080111/NEWS/801110412/-1/RSS
~

Hillary Clinton’s Lobbyist Driven Telecom Plans
by Matt Stoller (49 comments)
Huffington Post
01/10/08

Excuse me for a second while I delve into something substantive.  I’ve written about Obama’s transformative proposals on media and contrasted them to Hillary Clinton’s ‘Connect America’ plan to expand broadband access, which is based on a private-public partnership model called Connect Kentucky.  Well, it turns out that Connect Kentucky is basically a fraudulent front group funded by government grants set up by telecom interests to advance their legislatve agenda and lie about internet access.  And what Clinton wants to do is spread it nationwide.   —>
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matt-stoller/hillary-clintons-lobbyis_b_80990.html
~

Clinton And McCain On Globalization, Technology
by Mary Hayes Weier (5 comments)
InformationWeek
01/10/08

The morning after the Iowa caucus results, I shared with you what Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama are saying about technology and globalization. The focus has shifted over to Hillary Clinton and John McCain after the results in New Hampshire’s primary. Here’s what those presidential candidates have to say about those topics…

Clinton also laments the U.S.’s comparably poor deployment of broadband.

“Under the Bush administration, the country that invented the Internet has slipped to 25th in the global rankings for broadband deployment. In order to accelerate the deployment of sophisticated networks, Hillary Clinton proposes that the federal government provide tax incentives to encourage broadband deployment in underserved areas. She also proposes financial support for state and local broadband initiatives. Various municipal broadband initiatives are under way around the country to accelerate the deployment of high-speed networks. The initiatives are useful for education, commerce, technology development, and the efficient provision of municipal services.”   —>
http://www.informationweek.com/blog/main/archives/2008/01/clinton_and_mcc.html
~

Cable Customers Leaving For Internet TVs? If Price Is Right
by Wayne Friedman (2 comments)
Media Post’s TV Watch
01/11/08

Will TV consumers abandon cable systems for Internet-capable TV sets? This all seems like a big jump; but remember, entertainment consumers saunter.  Cable operators used to fear that the satellite distributors would be their biggest threat. To a lesser extent, the immediate threat comes from phone companies-backed IPTV and IPTV-like programming services.

Now, for some cable customers there are too many programming choices that aren’t used often enough, and high monthly prices — $100 and more. All this has forced some angry people to consider options like leaving the traditional TV distribution system behind.

At the CES, many companies indicated they would like to take up the slack. SlingMedia talked up technology that would take content from the Internet and send it to any TV screen. Sony, Sharp and Panasonic are making televisions where you can directly plug in an Internet connection.   —>
http://blogs.mediapost.com/tv_watch/?p=856
~

MEDIA-THAILAND:  Interference Mars Community Radio
by Lynette Lee Corporal, Asia Media Forum
Inter Press Service
01/11/08

BANGKOK (IPS) – Pride evident in his voice, Weerapol Charoenthum expressed his satisfaction with ‘Maung Loei’, a community radio station run by the youth of the north-eastern Thai province of Loei.  The station is among about a dozen that are part of Loei Community Networks, whose concept entails using radio as a means to teach children how to be responsible citizens and gives adults a way to “listen to what the children have to say” about different issues, explains Weeraphol, coordinator of the networks.

“Community radio has opened up communication channels for people and although we continue to face problems such as lack of funds, we are quite happy with what we have done so far,” Weerapol said in a lecture on community radio this week at Chulalongkorn University here.  “There is no question about the desire of local communities to express themselves through small media. It is a global phenomenon. But this is complicated by challenges coming from different sides, including changes in technology, that we don’t see the future clearly,” explained Prof Drew McDaniel, director for international studies of Ohio University.

Flourishing in the years following the media reforms provided in Thailand’s 1997 constitution, community radio became quite popular during ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s administration.  Years later, these local stations continue to experience birthing pains brought about by challenges posed by licensing, funding, programming goals — and freedom of expression.   —>
http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=40752
~

Vegan Caesar Salad
Food World Guide
01/11/08

—>   Enter Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero (of public access television’s Post Punk Kitchen with their recently released, and much acclaimed, vegan cookbook – Veganomicon.   —>
http://foodworldguide.com/main/vegan-caesar-salad-2103/
~

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web:  http://ourchannels.org
wiki:  http://peg.ourchannels.org

Community Media: Selected Clippings – 01/10/08

January 11, 2008

FRANCHISE 2008: HELP KEEP FREE SPEECH ALIVE!
Manhattan Neighborhood Network (NY)
01/10/08

SPECIAL MNN PRODUCERS EVENT On Monday, January 14, at 7pm
All MNN Comunity Producers, Friends and Allies, Come and Find Out What’s at Stake!

In September 2008, the franchise agreements between the City of New York, NYC Public Access Centers and the cable companies will expire. What’s at stake in the upcoming deals? What will be the future of local community voices in the NYC media landscape? What about the digital divide, the consolidation of media ownership and the ongoing threats to Internet freedom?

• Gale Brewer, NYC Councilmember, Chair, City Council’s Technology Committee
• Tony Riddle, Executive Director, Alliance for Community Media
• Jeff Chester, Founder and Executive Director, Center for Digital Democracy
• Dan Coughlin, Executive Director, Manhattan Neighborhood Network

WHERE: Manhattan Neighborhood Network—Open Studio @ 537 West 59th Street, NY 10019
(Subway: A/B/C/D/1 train to 59th Street – Columbus Circle). Light refreshments will be served
Please RSVP ASAP by email: promo [at] mnn.org or by calling 212-757-2670 x 308
http://www.mnn.org/en/franchise-2008-help-keep-free-speech-alive
~

Comcast Prepares Public For Digital Cable Changes
WHMI-FM (MI)
01/09/08

Ready or not, the digital change is coming to Livingston County for analog customers. There has been some discussion from local municipalities about the change since it will move their public access channels into the 900’s. —>
http://www.whmi.com/news/article/article5662.php
~

Public Access Channels Move
by Jamie Edmonds
WILX (MI)
01/09/08

On January 15th, your public access, educational, and governmental programs on Comcast will go from analog channels in the 20s to digital channels in the 900s… much to the chagrin of the people who produce them. “It’s not really accessible anymore,” said Haslett High School Senior Caitlyn Hudgins. “At least I don’t have channel 912, and most people I know don’t have it either.” Haslett High School’s TV Station – The Vision – will have to scale back because of it. “We would need to get digital boxes for every classroom, and that’s not possible,” Hudgins said.

Comcast said a cable box will convert the digital signal and they’ll provide it for free for 12 months. Subscribers just have to call. In a statement, they said they are “proud to provide public programming to nearly all of their 1.3 million Michigan customers in a digital format.

Meridian Township’s Hom-TV isn’t buying it. The director said their average viewer relies on their programming and won’t use a cable box. “Call a senior citizen and ask them to hook up a converter box,” said Deborah Guthrie, station manager at Hom-TV. —>
http://www.wilx.com/news/headlines/13663907.html
~

Cable shift riles local officials
by Scott Spielman
Wayne Eagle (MI)
01/10/08

A change proposed by Comcast Cable has government officials channeling their anger toward the company. The cable provider recently informed officials that Public, Education and Government (PEG) channels will soon be moving up the dial—from their current location to channel 915. “All the communities are upset about it,” said Wayne Mayor Al Haidous. He and other members of the city council talked about the issue last week. He said he hopes to have a representative from Comcast at the next city council meeting to talk about it, too. —>
http://www.journalgroup.com/Wayne/6749/cable-shift-riles-local-officials
~

Comcast moves local public access shows
by Alison Bergsieker
Hometown Life (MI)
01/10/08

Huron Valley residents who have Comcast cable subscriptions can expect a change in their channel lineup next week when Comcast moves all local access stations to channels in the 900s. The channel move will prevent some subscribers from watching the local access shows if they don’t have a digital cable package. Comcast’s web site states the company will provide equipment for one year to those subscribers, but will ask them to upgrade their packages the following year.

The local education channel, which features Huron Valley Schools HVS-TV, will move from Channel 12 to Channel 903. For subscribers located near Walled Lake Consolidated Schools, which is currently broadcast on Channel 10, its educational programming also will move to channel 902. Government access programming on Channel 20 will shift to 915, while public access programming on channel 22 will move to channel 916. Comcast is testing the channel move in Michigan, where 1.3 million subscribers will be affected. —>
http://hometownlife.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080110/NEWS11/801100665/1028
~

City to develop own media
by Ken McLemore
Hope Star (AR)
01/09/08

The Hope City Board of Directors agreed Tuesday night to allow the city to develop its own media content and delivery through cable television access despite a plea from a local television station not to compete with local media. Hope Mayor Dennis Ramsey sought to assure KTSS Television owner Greg Bobo that the city would not develop advertising-based content through an agreement with Hope Community TV to broadcast City of Hope news via text scroll on an unused cable access channel.

Ramsey, who said the City of Hot Springs operates a similar news delivery service, seemed befuddled by Bobo’s protest that the city was laying the groundwork for competition with local media. Ramsey said the outlet might also be used by Hope Public Schools and the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope for educational practicums. —>
http://www.hopestar.com/articles/2008/01/09/news/news2.txt
~

Comcast, AT&T, Verizon Agree: Reform The FCC
by Ted Hearn
Multichannel News
01/08/08

Carmel Group chairman and CEO Jimmy Schaeffler saved his best for last as moderator of a 2008 International CES panel on Monday that included representatives from the biggest cable and telephone companies. “[What’s] the one thing … at the FCC that you would like to change?” Schaeffler asked, looking in the direction of Joe Waz, Comcast’s vice president of external affairs and public policy counsel Joe Waz.

“You’re asking a cable guy?” Waz said, jumping right in. “I’d like to hit the delete button on the last 12 months.” Waz was referring to cable’s rocky 2007 with Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin, who slapped cable with set-top box technology mandates, cut cable leased access rates by 75%, and voided exclusive cable contracts with apartment building owners.

But Schaffler’s question was not designed to reprise Martin’s cable-bashing record. Instead, his intent was to explore whether the FCC needed a stem-to-stern overhaul. —>
http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6517967.html?rssid=196
~

The end of the cable set-top box? Yes, Comcast says
by Zoë Slocum
CNET News
01/08/08

Comcast, the United States’ largest cable operator, says the set-top box’s days are numbered. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Tuesday, CEO Brian Roberts predicted in a keynote address that by the end of the year, “virtually the entire cable industry will support Tru2way,” an “open cable” standard that would render the bulky boxes moot by directly integrating any U.S. cable provider’s service with a variety of devices. Initial partners in the Tru2way endeavor include Motorola, TiVo, Intel, Samsung Electronics, Microsoft, LG Electronics, Cisco Systems, and Sun Microsystems. —>
http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9845814-7.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-5
~

Is ‘Tru2Way’ True Two-Way TV?
by Gene Hirschel
InternetNews.com
01/09/08

Remember the days of three network channels? Then came cable TV with 50 channels, then more. Now, the next horizon in television is looking more like true two-way connectivity like the Web or the Internet. Brian Roberts of Comcast corporation stepped up to this bold announcement during a keynote address at CES by noting the beginning of yet another revolutionary moment in communications. He called it Comcast 3.0, but in truth, the next version of cable and on demand content is built on the DOCSIS 3.0 (define) standard, which sets downstream traffic transfer rates between for cable providers.

Roberts and Comcast call it Tru2way technology, a set of tools and services for the cable network, and a new term for cable internet speed: Wideband. This may be more than just a new blend of acronyms; it could create a new generation of interconnected media devices. If adopted by the industry, Tru2way will be the language of cable television just as HTML is the language of the Internet and allow the equivalent of surfing Comcast content. —>
http://www.internetnews.com/bus-news/article.php/3720651
~

Connect Kentucky Provides Uncertain Model for Federal Legislation
by Art Brodsky
Public Knowledge
01/09/08

The only telecommunications legislation that has a chance of passing the Congress controlled by Democrats this year is modeled on a group whose apparent accomplishments are open to question and whose origins are in Republican politics in Kentucky. That group is Connected Nation, which began life as Connect Kentucky.

In just three short years, the organization claims to have brought Kentucky out of the technological dark ages, raising the availability of high-speed Internet by one-third while increasing other prime indicators ranging from home computer ownership to growth in high-tech jobs. Connect claims an advanced mapping system to guide the development of Internet through the state and through the work of local “leadership teams.” The mapping program is supposed to show where there are gaps in the provision of high-speed Internet. The local teams, led by Connect Kentucky staff and composed of representatives of local business, education and technology organizations, are supposed to come up with a snapshot of how advanced the community is now, and set out some goals for improving use of technology.

Connect is on the cusp of bigger things. It has renamed itself Connected Nation, and is poised to try to replicate its model across the country. It has become a star on Capitol Hill, the model for programs enshrined in bills that, in different form, have passed the Senate and the House and others that are waiting for action. Some of those bills have millions of dollars in potential grant money attached to them, with the Connected organization now positioned perfectly to receive them.

Even more impressive is the attention the group has received. It is practically unheard of that an organization receives the universal accolades that Connect has in its portfolio. Every news story is favorable. Every politician is fawning. The organization, ostensibly set up to spur broadband deployment, has been hailed in Washington as a model of a public-private partnership. That combination is irresistible to Democrats because it frees them from the stereotype of a government-only program and brings in private-sector participation.

The apparent accomplishments of Connect Kentucky are as impressive as is the irony surrounding them.

The irony is that the Connect Kentucky model, hailed by Democrats such as Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA), Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Rep. Zach Space (D-OH) and, to a lesser extent, House Telecom Subcommittee Chairman Ed Markey (D-MA) was cooked up by Republican staffers for then-Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher (R) and representatives from BellSouth. That background is necessary to understanding the unique circumstances of Connect Kentucky as others try to replicate its “success.”

Part of that understanding is recognizing that there is another story; however, that hasn’t received its proper attention. There are other voices that are not being heard – those of people around the state who work in the same industry as Connect and in some of the same technical areas. Connect is a subject widely discussed in telecommunications circles, but many people who are most knowledgeable declined to be quoted by name because of the continuing power and influence of AT&T and the other local telephone and cable companies.

Their judgment, broadly stated, is that Connect Kentucky is nothing more than a sales force and front group for AT&T paid for by the telecommunications industry and by state and federal governments that has achieved far more in publicity than it has in actual accomplishment. Connect helps to promote AT&T services, while lobbying at the state capitol for the deregulation legislation the telephone company wants. —>
http://www.publicknowledge.org/node/1334
~

compiled by Rob McCausland
Alliance for Community Media
202-393-2650
web: http://ourchannels.org
wiki: http://peg.ourchannels.org