At the monthly meeting/conference calls, members of the ACM Northeast Board exchange news from our states, much of it about policy matters at state level. ACM-NE can’t work on policy at a regional level, with all the variation among the states, but we all learn from each other how things work and might work for the benefit of all our organizations.
Vermont Access Network offers a fine model of access centers (or Access Management Organizations in Vermontese) working together to bring better conditions for the public good. The final state ruling on Comcast’s license renewal this coming December should show the results of their work, years in the process.
We hear that in New York City, the metropolitan centers worked to maintain their situation as Altice buys Cablevision. Meanwhile the smaller PEGs in upstate New York still struggle to get attention from the legislators in Albany.
In Connecticut, PEGs tried to keep their heads down as the state budget situation absorbs all energy in Hartford. The PEGPETIA monies intended to fund capital grants for PEGs is still swept into the General Fund. But Frontier Communications has begun offering capital grants based on the PEGPETIA template to some. Meanwhile, before the final sale to Altice, Cablevision began charging its town-specific G (and possibly E) channels for the television service used to monitor their signal, something that used to be free.
Sometimes the news isn’t about policy. Members of the New Hampshire Coalition for Community Media (NHCCM) attended the Power of Partners conference last May, hosted by the Jersey Access Group (JAG) and including the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA). At a federal level NATOA works closely with the national ACM (oops, policy pops up again). Like ACM conferences, there were panels and a trade show. One company familiar to those who have attended our conferences is TelVue, which featured their 30th anniversary celebration in a blogpost with a brief video that includes at least one well-known Northeast face.