Don’t Downgrade Public Channels
April 7, 2008
I applaud The Courant’s decision to encourage the General Assembly to protect the Connecticut Television Network from substandard delivery on AT&T’s U-verse video system [editorial, April 4, “Don’t Downgrade CT-N”].
The editorial did not mention that this “downgrade” will also have a significant impact on the many community-based public, education and government channels throughout the state. Just as CT-N has built a loyal following, these channels have become valued sources of information about community issues, school events and government services.
On cable systems, subscribers can find local channels without difficulty and easily monitor long-duration programming, such as meetings, by tuning away and back with the touch of a single button on the remote. The ability of subscribers to select and view community programming in a convenient manner is critical. Unfortunately, this might become a casualty of AT&T’s preference for an economical form of signal transmission.
Connecticut residents should not be penalized by the legislature’s efforts to ease the entry of AT&T, or any new competitor, into the cable TV market. These competitors should be required to deliver CT-N and all community access channels in a manner equal to that used for commercial channels.
AT&T will make money using the streets and poles throughout our neighborhoods. Good corporate citizenship is the least we should expect from them in return.
Scott A. Hanley
The writer manages the town of Wallingford’s government access TV channel.
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