www.CableAdvisoryCouncil.com

For Charter Communications NW CT Area 19

PO BOX 87, Newtown CT 06470

Email Chairman@CableAdvisoryCouncil.com

CABLE ADVISORY COUNCIL Correspondence

Gregory G. Davis, Chairman – PURA District 19


29 January 2015


Senator Paul R. Doyle (S09) Co-Chairman Energy & Technology Committee

Deputy Majority Leader, Paul.Doyle@cga.ct.gov


Representative Lonnie Reed (H102) Co-Chair Energy & Technology Committee

(860) 240-8585 Lonnie.Reed@cga.ct.gov


Mark Severance, E&T Committee Coordinator

860-240-0430, Mark.Severanc@CGA.CT.gov

Energy and Technology Committee

Legislative Office Building, Room 3900

Hartford, CT 06106

Greetings Co Chairs, Senator Doyle & Representative Reed


I am Gregory G. Davis, a volunteer on a mission to Save Our Community Access Providers, and a prime motivator for PHB-6436, PHB-6437, PHB-6438.


Please observe the body of text for each of these three PHB’s is the same. The Title of PHB-6436, “Stabilizing The Funding for the Connecticut Institution of Community Access Television” is the most accurate, and informative.


Please schedule a public hearing for these bills. Members of the Cable Advisory Councils from across the State are motivated to testify on this important issue. My own draft testimony is included below.


I will eagerly meet with you concerning these proposed bills, and all the duties of the cable advisory councils - specifically regarding our “Prime Directive”; To “Promote and Protect a Secure Future for Meaningful Community Access Television”. I have served on the PURA district 19 Cable Advisory Council of the Designated Community Access Provider hosted by Charter Communications since 2005, and been the elected chairman since 2012. www.CableAdvisoryCouncil.org, our council website, has a large library of current and archived information which may be helpful for your work.


Sincerely,

Gregory G. Davis KB1YHW

Chairman, PURA area 19 Cable Advisory Council


www.CableAdvisoryCouncil.com

For Charter Communications NW CT Area 19

PO BOX 87, Newtown CT 06470

Email Chairman@CableAdvisoryCouncil.com

29 January 2015


DRAFT TESTIMONY (p.1 of 2) for PHB-6436,PHB6437, PHB-6438

by Gregory G. Davis, Area 19 Cable Advisory Council Chairman


These three proposed House Bills are recommending the very same action; ie to close a loophole in the community access provider funding section of the CT Statutes in order to specifically include ALL subscribers to the services offered by the CT MVPD license holder.


Twenty-Five years ago, in the days before the internet, the term “subscribers” was by default, “ALL” customers of the MVPD licensee. Time & technology have evolved to permit digitization and differentiation of product classes for enhanced billing and revenue generating purposes by the MVPD license holders. These MVPD license holders have decided on their own, to create groups of subscribers “exempt” from the annual community access support fee. This creation of subclasses of “ exempt subscribers” is neither permitted, nor denied in the existing law; ie.. This is a classic loophole. This fee is an annual fee, amounting to less than $10 per subscriber per year, and is specifically allocated for the support of the PURA designated & regulated community access providers. These funds are the sole source of financial support for this vital CT institution, which ultimately safeguards our national 1st amendment rights. Closing the loophole in the existing law by including the word “ALL” with “Subscribers” will stabilize the funding as originally intended by the visionary authors of the legislation that created the CT Institution of Community Access Television.


The argument from the MVPD’s will be a chorus of protest, claiming that CT has no right to tax the internet. On this point, there is no argument, because the community access subscriber fee is NOT a TAX on the internet. The community access support fee is simply a public interest obligation under the terms of the CT MVPD license; and is therefore no more an internet tax than any of the dozen or so other Public Interest subscriber fees and taxes collected from the MVPD license holders.









www.CableAdvisoryCouncil.com

For Charter Communications NW CT Area 19

PO BOX 87, Newtown CT 06470

Email Chairman@CableAdvisoryCouncil.com


DRAFT TESTIMONY (p. 2 of 2) for PHB-6436,PHB6437, PHB-6438

by Gregory G. Davis, Area 19 Cable Advisory Council Chairman


The proposed argument that Community Access Television has become irrelevant and should be defunded, because Google’s You-Tube has replaced it, is patently false. Google You-Tube is a private for-profit venture, where any well-financed client can protest a You-Tube posting, and it WILL DISAPPEAR. Community Access Television is a CT Institution, ultimately designed in the Public Interest to guarantee the voice of the citizen can be heard.


The national trend to TV programming delivered over the internet is well established, and will continue to rapidly capture increasing market share. Industry analysts estimate 15% current penetration, with expectations of 35% market capture in the next 3 years. MVPD’s have decided to stop remitting the subscriber access fees for a sub-group of subscribers, an action that is neither allowed nor denied in the exiting statues. This adhoc action of the MVPD’s will completely devastate the Community Access Provider infrastructure. Community access TV Production Studios typically operate with less than 5 full time staff members, and many, with just one individual. Any cuts to funding levels of our access studio budgets directly translates to the loss of dedicated & essential community access studio staff and loss of access services. 30% cuts to Community Access provider budgets will mean closing down 13 of the 40 community access studios now operating in the 23 PURA franchise districts across the state. The Public Interest would be permanently damaged, and needlessly so. CT MVPD License holders have always collected community access support fees from subscribers. This is not a brand new fee being asked in the public interest, as it has always existed in law.


Closing the loophole in the existing law by including the word “ALL” with “Subscribers” will stabilize the funding, as originally intended and provided by the visionary authors of the CT Institution of Community Access Television. I am Gregory G. Davis, a volunteer on a mission to Save Our Community Access Providers.  We need your help.  It is the right thing to do.