Tag Archives: cable

“Approximately 26 million Americans, mostly in rural communities located in every region of the country, are denied access to the jobs and economic opportunity made possible by broadband.”

Rural communities have been begging for broadband telecommunication services, when government realizes the economic impact and denied access to jobs, you can not be surprised when local municipalities opt to build their own broadband network to serve their citizens.

The following is forwarded to you:

FCC Seventh Broadband Progress Report

The latest Broadband Progress Report to Congress reveals that approximately 26 million
Americans, mostly in rural communities located in every region of the country, are denied
access to the jobs and economic opportunity made possible by broadband.

BPR Link

While the infrastructure of high-speed Internet is unavailable to those Americans, the
FCC report also finds that approximately one-third of Americans do not subscribe to
broadband, even when it’s available. This suggests that barriers to adoption – such as
cost, low digital literacy, and concerns about privacy – remain too high. The Report
also notes limited broadband capacity for schools and libraries as a further indicator
that broadband is not being reasonably and timely deployed and is not available to all

Without action by the FCC in partnership with the states and the private sector,
prospects for broadband service in many of the areas cited in the Report will remain
unacceptably low. The Report finds the problem especially acute among low-income
Americans, African-Americans, Hispanics, seniors, and residents of Tribal areas.
Congress recognized the importance of broadband in Section 706 of the Telecommunications
Act of 1996, which directs the FCC to take immediate action to accelerate broadband
deployment when it is not “reasonable and timely.” The Report emphasizes that,
notwithstanding our continuing broadband challenges, significant progress has been made
over the past few years in both the private and public sectors. Despite the difficult
economy, the private sector continues to invest tens of billions of dollars in broadband
infrastructure each year – $65 billion in capital expenditures in 2010 alone – expanding
capacity, increasing speeds on fixed networks and rolling out next-generation mobile
services like 4G.

Since first finding in the 2010 Report to Congress that deployment is not reasonable and
timely, the FCC has taken a number of steps to accelerate national broadband deployment
and adoption. These actions include reforming the E-rate program to enable schools and
libraries to get higher-capacity, lower-cost access to the Internet; launching its
“Learning On-the-Go” pilot program at schools and libraries across the country to
advance the use of digital textbooks and mobile Internet access for interactive learning
outside the classroom; launching a Broadband Acceleration Initiative to remove barriers
and speed deployment of robust, affordable broadband; moving to reform the Universal
Service Fund and intercarrier compensation system to better incentivize deployment of
broadband to underserved communities; and unleashing additional spectrum for broadband.
The FCC continues to aggressively pursue its broadband agenda, which is crucial to job
creation and America’s global competitiveness.

Broadband can help create hundreds of thousands of new jobs for Americans in the coming
years, including more than 200,000 jobs through investment in 4G wireless technologies
alone. The new and growing “apps economy” has drawn tens of thousands of developers and
companies, including startups attracting significant private investment that creates new

This year’s Report relies on the nation’s first collection of data about actual broadband
deployment, rather than the estimates based on broadband adoption used by previous
reports. The new deployment data was collected at the direction of Congress by the
National Telecommunications and Information Administration to create the National
Broadband Map

Download Report PDF


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.

Comcast Workers United

News from IBEW Local 2322
For immediate release: May 11, 2011

Customers, community leaders raise concerns about Comcast’s respect for workers’ rights

Comcast’s “Easy Pay” locations throughout Massachusetts were visited on May 11 by their customers and local community leaders concerned about the company’s treatment of its employees and lack of respect for workers’ rights.

Customers and community activists are disturbed about Comcast management’s refusal to discuss wages and working conditions with the majority of workers at its Fairhaven and Fall River, Massachusetts garages who freely decided to form a union with IBEW Local 2322 last fall.
“The workers at these garages have exercised their basic rights to form a union and have requested that management begin good faith negotiations with them,” said Eric Hetrick. “Giant corporations like Comcast should respect their civic and moral duty to comply with the law and our community’s values.”
The “day of action” coincided with Comcast’s Annual Shareholders meeting in Philadelphia.
“While the top bosses are celebrating their huge profits in Philly, community leaders are delivering letters asking local managers to communicate our concerns,” said Russ Davis, director of Massachusetts Jobs with Justice. “We need this company to respect workers’ rights and begin negotiations for the good jobs that our communities need.”
Jobs with Justice is one of the groups organizing visits to more than 45 Easy Pay locations in Massachusetts.

In many communities, community leaders have also been looking to include stronger workers’ rights language in their city or town’s next cable TV agreement with Comcast. Local city councils or boards of selectmen have passed resolutions calling for their cable franchise agreements to, “comply with the National Labor Relations Act and all applicable state and federal wage and hour laws.” Cambridge, Springfield, Nahant and six towns on Martha’s Vineyard have already done so.

To obtain a copy of the letter that customers and community leaders are delivering to the Easy Pay locations or learn more about Comcast workers visit their “Virtual Bulletin Board” at struggle for justice . Says Rand Wilson of the
Center for Strategic Research, AFL-CIO, c/o IBEW Local 2222, in Dorchester, MA

Notice of Public Hearing on Cable Television Rates

Notice of Public Hearing on Cable Television Rates
On October 2, 2010, Charter Communications (“Charter”) filed with the Department of Telecommunications and Cable proposed basic service tier programming, for all of Charter’s Massachusetts communities subject to rate regulation,
Pursuant to G.L.c. 1661, par.166A and 15, and 207 C.M.R. Par 6.03 , the State’s Department of Telecommunications and Cable will hold a public and evidentiary hearing to investigate Charter’s proposed basic service tier programming, equipment and installation rates. The hearing will take place at:
May 3, 2011 at 1 PM, Department of Telecommunications and Cable, 1000 Washington Street, Hearing Room 1-E, Boston, MA., 02118
Docketed as D.T.C. 10-7

YES to CAP Act, NO to Verizon Bill

This one is for all of us.

The Community Access Preservation Act, HR 3745, was introduced October 7, 2009 by Representative Tammy Baldwin (WI-2). It is an a important piece of legislation for Public, Educational and Government (PEG) Access Centers. Across the nation you will find
interest in states, and cities resolving to ask congress to support the CAP ACT. In Massachusetts we want to keep franchise licensing under local control.

Why it’s a good idea to support the CAP ACT:

Unlike public broadcasting, WCCA TV 13 receives no federal, state or city appropriation of funds, but relies on franchise fees and support from local members and organizations.
However, franchise fees have been threatened, and in some cases eliminated, by changes in many states’ laws and resistance from cable and wireless providers.

The CAP Act responds to four immediate threats to our funding and those of public, educational and governmental cable channels around the country:
It amends the Communications Act so that franchise fees may be
used to support basic operational costs, including employee Salaries;
It reaffirms the principles of the Communications Act that cable
providers should not discriminate against us and should treat us
the same as other local broadcast channels;

It promotes the preservation of public, educational and
governmental channels like WCCA TV 13, and ongoing funding from cable providers for local programming like the dozens of WCCA
community videos, news, youth and educational media workshops, and public service messages, city council meetings, ; and

It amends the Communications Act to treat wireless providers the
same as cable providers where support and carriage of WCCA TV 13 is concerned.

While we ask you to support the CAP ACT we also ask to oppose a recent bill Verizon is lobbing for which may cause potential harm to public access channels.

Say no to Verizon’s bill.

Companies such as Verizon, AT&T, seem to be consistently lobbying to influence cable/telecommunications legislation in their favor. Most recently in North Carolina, Time Warner, has used it’s allies in the Legislature to introduced the most sweeping and intrusive anti-municipal network bill in quite some time.

Such proposals either abandoning local municipal franchise controls altogether by moving it the state level or by imposing unreasonable time lines upon municipalities that discourage community participation and proper ascertainment. Removing community voices
from the equation, serves no good purpose for the consumer or for those who depend upon and utilize public access channels. These are bills that also have led to the elimination of protection and assurances for Public Access PEG channels.

Local cable franchise license requirements can apply to any telecommunication company that provides video over their system. Benefits gained from an exchange of rights of way, include , consumer protection issues, fair distribution of service, senior discounts, address public safety issues, INET (Data networks), ensure proper provisions to sustain viable public access channels, a means to support, grass roots public access community
media. Many states that gave up local franchise controls ended up with no increase of competition and rates that still increased while they experienced the elimination of public access channels.

Companies use the slant that abandoning municipal controls would create competition, and or reduce rates. This is apparently NOT the case.

The National Association of Telecommunication Officers and Advisors (NATOA) conducted a survey and was disappointed to learn that for those states that have accommodated such anti municipal legislation here is what they found thus far:

* Rates have not decreased according to 98% of those surveyed.

* Incumbent basic rates have increased $1.12 for analog and $1.51 for digital

* Most new entrants do not market a Basic Service Tier nor report rates, which makes
consumer comparison shopping difficult at best.

* Consumer complaints remain high with 74% of respondents reporting the same level of
complaints, except as they relate to the availability of choice of provider

* The majority of LFAs reported that on incumbent systems, the number of PEG (Public,
Educational and Governmental) access channels has remained constant (97%) and that the
technical quality has remained the consistent (89%). PEG channel positions on new entrant
systems were reported as different from the incumbents by 39% with worse or poor
technical quality reported by 36% on new entrant systems. PEG funding was the same for
44% of the LFAs, whereas funding increased for 12% and actually decreased for 22% of

* Overall, 82% of LFAs do not believe that state video legislation is having a positive
impact on their community; 90% believe that PEG programming is not being treated in an
equitable manner by new entrants; and 97% believe that customer service has not improved
under state supervision.

We ask legislators to stand tall on the people’s side of these matters.

Choke Points

Every time you send an email, withdraw money from an ATM, make a wireless call, or even swipe a credit card, your information must travel over high-capacity broadband lines known as ‘special access.’

Businesses, hospitals, local and federal governments, and even the national financial system rely on high-capacity broadband lines to connect to their networks, customers, branches, and locations around the country. Like the cable and telephone lines that connect residential customers to the long distance network and the Internet, special access lines connect each essential piece of the economy to the Internet, to long distance networks, to centralized databases, and to each other. But in nearly every industry and in nearly every region of the country, a few giant phone companies like AT&T or Verizon are the only source for this critical broadband input.

Special access users have few, if any, competitive alternatives. And in most instances, these few alternative competitors must lease the underlying phone network to provide service. This has allowed the phone companies to use their market power to raise prices to historically unprecedented highs, choking off usage, stifling innovation, and smothering cost-cutting opportunities for the rest of the economy that is forced to pay them.

Companies like AT&T and Verizon have exploited their market power in the geographic regions they control throughout the country by demanding outrageous prices, because they can. They control more than 90% of the commercial business addresses in the United States and 85% of markets across the country.

Excessive special access rates and unreasonable contract terms and conditions that keep customers captive drain dollars from business customers and competitive broadband providers, preventing them from building infrastructure and offering services necessary for broadband competition and innovation. This results in rising prices for consumers, delays the deployment of competitive broadband services – particularly in rural areas that need it most – and even slows the development of competitive broadband in more densely populated areas.

In the cable world , at least congress had the wisdom to ensure communities got something back in exchange for such exploitation, e.g the local cable franchise licensing which, in many cases, provides for public access to local channels. Public access stations in many areas , as well as in Worcester, are moving beyond cable limitations and into digital modes of transmission. There is no real practical or functional difference between phone broadband and cable broadband.
Shouldn’t broadband or special channel providers also be regulated to support your public access channel as well?

More subscribers are moving toward the basic tier

According to a recent CNNMoney.com report, more people appear to be moving toward purchasing basic tier cable. Part of the reasoning for this may be cost and also that much of what can be seen on premium cable or phone video service channels can be purchased elsewhere. Although, cable prices have been very competitive. The idea of one in eight people may be expected to cancel cable or satellite subscriptions, because of the cost, raises a question. Does it make sense for some to begin charging or increasing rates for online customers? Eventually the next monopoly will be the highest cost, so is this just another turn in the cycle of spirally rate increases?

Sure, “premium” products can really be purchased for a number of venues ( netflix, etc., for example) , however, the unique local PUBLIC ACCESS programming that exist on basic subscriptions is a huge draw that video providers could embrace as a marketing opportunity.

I think this highlights the need and value of public access centers such as WCCA TV 13. Where niche local programming news and information is accompanied by a comprehensive vehicle to encourage inclusion and participation in electronic media through a public forum that can be wide cast on cable and online. Is something that cable marketing people have ignored for years. Rather than just promote their own infomercial channels and bundle services, they are missing the opportunity to promote a substantial value and return for the buck that Public Access channels offer subscribers, and the whole community.

Cable and phone companies that offer Public Access PEG channels, have something that satellite programming providers do not have. Encouraging online streaming of cable related products, including PEG channels, creates a new win – win marketing opportunity.