Organizers want public access television in Troy

publicaccesstv.jpg

Television control rooms like this one could be available to the public if Troy requests public access.

Activists in Troy are trying to mobilize as many people as possible to attend a Troy City Council meeting tonight to speak out against a proposed 10-year cable contract with Time Warner.
The biggest issue that community organizers like filmmakers Jim DeSeve and Andrew Lynn see is that the Time Warner deal does not provide Troy and the surrounding areas with public access television stations. Jim DeSeve said that deals like the one in Schenectady show that there can be a thriving public access cable channel that the public can use to produce its own shows.
Federal laws require cable companies to provide public access services to a community in exchange for using a municipality's right of way such as cable wires. Andrew Lynn said the people could have three public access cable stations: one for public programming, one for education and one for government. But it won't happen unless city official ask for it.
The group is urging the Troy City Council to vote no on the Time Warner deal and to negotiate a deal with a company that will offer the Troy community cable access.
The meeting is tonight at 7 p.m. at Christ Church at 5th and State streets. There will be a public comment period before the vote.

Photo courtesy of Klaser Filmsvia Flickr

Comments

Public access stations on cable only serve those who pay for cable. A real deal with Time Warner would include an over the air transmitter for the station. Not going to happen of course...

If you've never pondered them, municipal CATV contracts (really franchise agreements) are an interesting business animal.

The parties are the municipality (the Government) and the CATV providers. Usually there's only one CATV provider in a region, so it's a non-competitive procurement.

But it's not actually a procurement, since the Government isn't spending public money, rather is acting as common agent for CATV subscribers.

So there's one CATV provider who will get the "contract" (probably extending the one they already have), and Government negotiators who aren't spending public money. Very weird scenario. Nobody has any leverage. These negotiations are more like a dance.

The upshots are that the Government will get nothing it doesn't demand, and that publicity is the Government's friend. Hopefully Troy's contract managers will see the weird angles of this scenario and apply the right muscle.

LQ

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