Deal would double local access budget in Beverly

Beverly Mass: The city’s licensing authority is close to finalizing a 10 year contact with Comast that would more than double the budget for the city’s local access station.

Unfortunately, Comcast will pass the cost on to their customers which will fund the access station as well as the fiber-optic network that links municipal buildings. The question almost always arises why the cost for local channels are itemized as a pass through while other channels are not as cable companies to carry other channels, the cost of those channels are not visibly passed through. The franchise funding to support access channels and local INets is derived not from subscribers but by cable profits.

It is said that the two sides are working out the final details but are expected to reach an
agreement as soon as this week.

This is scene as good news for BevCam because they’re going to get a significant increase
in funding at time when community organizations most need affordable opportunities to reach out and connect with their constituents.

The city is negotiating to extend the network which will also allow access connections to
Lynch Park and the Beverly Farms library.

It was reported that Comcast has also agreed to provide a third channel for local
access, probably in the fourth year of the contract. BevCam now operates on
Channel 10 while Beverly High School provides programming on Channel 22.
BevCam currently has three full-time and two part-time employees. It broadcasts
government meetings and local events and airs programs produced by volunteers.

BevCam’s board of directors will decide how to spend the money in
the increased budget, whether it’s to hire more staff or buy new equipment.

By law, Comcast must provide funding for local access television in exchange
for the right to use city property to run its cables. Comcast is allowed to
pass on those costs to customers through the local franchise fee.

The contract between the city and Comcast addresses only local access. The city
has no control over cable rates or programming.

Both sides are working to complete the negotiations as soon as possible.

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