The Legislative Approach
Eric Dresser’s May report to ACM-NE began with Bill H.2682, “basically aimed at helping to require cable television operators provide PEG access feeds for both SD & HD, while also enabling Electronic Programming Guide so that subscribers may record, select and view PEG access channels in the same manner as local broadcast channels.”
A hearing on this bill was held on May 30 in front of the Joint Committee for Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy. MassAccess brought in Jim Horwood (legal counsel on the ACM national board) from DC to testify concerning federal law in this area.
The MassAccess website (all new since mid-May!) has a brief report on that hearing with an audio file of the testimony presented on this bill with a menu of the speakers time-marked. The recording includes Q&A with committee members. This posting promises follow-up in the News section (under Resources) of massaccess.org.
It may be of most value to listen to what the New England Cable & Telecommunications Association, Verizon and RCN all have to say. Then hear how Jim Horwood responds. Members of the telecom committee expressed enthusiastic appreciation for Jim’s written testimony. While speaking, he made reference to Vermont’s recent renewal of Comcast’s Certificate of Public Good, to cord-cutting, and to the true effect on subscriber’s cable bills of improving PEG.
Besides all that:
The MassAccess Spring Conference on May 12 in Worcester was well attended. Four tracks of three sessions were available. Karen Charles Peterson, Commissioner of the MA Department of Telecommunications Commission was keynote speaker. Her speech included remarks regarding the Enterprise Funds, a source of concern for many MassAccess members. Changes have been pushed off for one year, giving all PEGs time to get ahead of this matter. Peterson also was part of a public policy conference session, fielding questions and hearing concerns from attendees.
A subcommittee was formed at the conference to deal with those increasing concerns about the Enterprise Funds. [A 2016 news post explains the issue in detail.] The subcommittee will focus on MassAccess’ strategy with the Department of Revenue. Massachusetts people should email Melinda@westwoodmediacenter.tv to join the group. This effort will require fund raising for legal counsel.
MassAccess is now in the very early stages of planning their Annual Fall Meet and Greet series. Last year this series of events visited four access centers across Massachusetts. Dates and locations TBD. Again, News on their fine, new website is a likely place to find updates!