www.CableAdvisoryCouncil.com

For Charter Communications NW CT Area 19

PO BOX 87, Newtown CT 06470

Email Chairman@CableAdvisoryCouncil.com

 

CABLE ADVISORY COUNCIL CHAIRMAN REPORT

Gregory G. Davis

 

A Secure Future for Community Access Television – The May 2014 View

 

EMAIL From Dr. Ruby O’Neill  6 May 2014

 

“I spoke to Arthur about your interest in preserving the institution of public access TV and the funding drying up because of cable subscriber attrition. He would like to meet with you after this current session ends. Perhaps it might be a good idea for you to contact other stakeholders to participate in that meeting.

The month of May is booked solid right now, meeting with constituents and attending conventions. Proposals for bills are not accepted until late Nov/December and the deadline is early January 2015, so you have time to organize the stakeholders and have productive discussions with Arthur and the stakeholders between now and then.

 

Again, thank you for the fabulous pics, your generosity, and your interest in the application of the First Amendment.

 

Be well,

 Ruby”

 

The Big Picture: The future of community access television is not secure due to several oversights and shortcomings of Public Act No. 07-253, “An Act Concerning Certified Competitive Video Service”.

A transition to Over the Top Video Distribution via the Internet is a near certainty.  This transition will dry up all the funding which supports Community Access Provider Programming and Operations. 

 

Legislative clarification and addendum’s to this act need to adopt promote and protect a secure future for Community Access Television Producers and their Designated Community Access Providers.

 

 

 

Legislative Initiatives to Repair PA 07-253

A.  The CT geographical regions associated with the 24 CT cable franchise territories upon adoption of PA07-253 define 24 independent franchise service areas for each of the 24 the PURA Designated Community Access Providers.

B.  The PURA will conduct a full investigation of programming and operations of each designated community access provider and their advisory council, at least once every five years.

C.  The PURA may reorganize the CAP regions to better serve Community Access producers upon completion of regular PURA investigations.

D.  The PURA will include advisory council funding during the annual support review of the of the designated community access providers.  If no CCFA license holder exists with a CAP region, the CVFA license holders my be designated by PURA to provide the annual support.

E.  The PURA will manage the conversion of a Designated CAP into an independent Not-for-profit Corporation. Transition costs be funded by the license holders party to CCFA/CVFA franchise territory reconfiguration.  The PURA will review and facilitate this process in the public interest.

 

F.  CVFA license perpetuity is conditional upon a minimum qualification for the Certified Statewide Video Provider license to be set by the PURA and to include not less than 51% of the population, towns or residential homes in the State of Connecticut, or automatically convert to the CCFA license after a probationary period not to exceed 7 years.

 

G. The Designated CAP is responsible for community access studio programming and operations funded by access subscriber fees collected within the region.  Independent studio operations supported and operated by Educational or Governmental entities within the CAP region shall have formal PURA approved MOU/MOA with the designated CAP.

 

H.  Any Entity reselling Internet service connectivity which bills on a regular and recurrent schedule to any private citizen or address within the Designated Community Access Provider Territory, will collect an access fee of ½ of 1 % on the recurrent retail ISP billing for minimum access speeds, and will be adjusted annually by the PURA in the annual community access support review.  The community access subscriber fees will be electronically transmitted to the Designated Community Access Provider prior to the 16th day of each month.  An Annual report information relevant to the PURA is required prior to the 16th day of January every year by the ISP for the annual community access support review.

 

 

 

WHAT WENT WRONG:  Read the decision: 

Find The CT Hartford Superior Court Decision here: 

http://cableadvisorycouncil.com/reports/SoundviewVPURA%20DecisionMarch2014.pdf

 

 

 

WHY THE FUTURE OF COMMUNITY ACCESS IS AT RISK

 

1.  The Designated Community Access Provider territories are NOT fixed per the original cable franchise territories.  Commercial operator territory consolidation erases the origianl Community Access Provider PURA map areas.  The Designated Community Access Providers are LOSING their Cable Advisory Councils who are dedicated to promoting a secure future for Community Access Television Programming & Operations. 

 

2.  The looming landslide to OTT programming delivery will completely dry up the funding mechanism for community access providers.

 

 

WHAT IT IS NOW

 

The CPCN  Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity License

Licenses are granted for limited times for Community Antenna and Cable Companies.   The CPCN license is now obsolete in CT.

  

The CVFA - Certificate of Video Franchise Authority License

open ended, no fixed expiration, no rate regulation

$1000 application fee

Must carry Community Access programming (16-331h)

Must collect Community Access subscriber fees as per 16-331a(k).  (16-331h)

Must fund the Statewide Video Advisory Council with $2000 annual fee (16-331i)

Must meet with the SVAC at least 2x per year (16-331i)

Must include SVAC information with billing at least 2x per year (16-331i)

Must Pay a Gross Earnings Tax (CGS12-256), not to exceed $5 million annually, into the Municipal video competition trust account which is distributed by the State anually to the towns & cities served  (16-331bb).

Must Pay a Gross Earnings Tax to Fund the PEGPETIA account  (CGS 16-331cc)

 

The CCFA - Certificate of Cable Franchise Authority

open ended, no fixed expiration, no rate regualtion,

$1000 application fee;  CPCN is terminated if CVFA operation is available in the territory

Must comply with 16-331s; which brings forward all provisions

of CGS16-331a - Community Access Programming and Operations,

excluding only subsections (j) & (m).  CGS16-333 (c ) is also linked(hearing imparied) , including

  Must collect Community Access subscriber fees,

  Must fund the Designated Community Access Provider.

  Must fund the Cable Advisory Council with $2000 annual fee.

  Must meet with the Cable Advisory Council at least 2x per year

  Must include Cable Advisory Council information with billing at least 2x per year

  Must Pay a Gross Earnings Tax to Fund the PEGPETIA account  (CGS 16-331cc)

 

Competetive Video Services Introduction Changes Regulation

 

1.  A CVFA license holder is relieved of ALL reponsibilities performed by the Designated Community Access Provider (CGS 16-331a - all subsections a-o, except k).   CVFA license holders only collect the community access subscriber fees to and pass them to the Designated Community Access Provider. (16-331a(k).

 

2.  The CPCN License holders were the original Designated Community Access Providers, unless the Designated Community Access Provider Status has been transferred to a qualified third party not-for-profit organization within the specified Franchise territory. The CCFA licensee which replaces the CPCN license in the region if a qualified CVFA licensee is operating in the same region.

 

3.  The State of CT is currently divided into CABLE FRANCHISE Territorities, organized into 24 physical map areas of the State.  These 24 remaining Franchise territories are the PURA specified map area COMMUNITY ACCESS Regions.  Most of the 24 Franchise territories have been relicenced as CCFA businesses, allowing for the transition to competitive video services, and a continuity of Community Access Provider Programming and Operations.  Requiring Statewide (ATT) operation of a competitive Community Access programming Providers in the 24 regions would be redundant, and illogical.

 

5.  A CCFA or CVFA license holder can sell, or transfer their license at will.  A license is cancelled voluntarily by the holder, or revoked by the State for failure to comply with the law.

 

6.  The CCFA license holder can apply for a new CCFA or CVFA which consolidates franchise territories.  Comcast (14 iof the 24 regions) is moving forward in this process of consolidation.

 

7.  A CCFA license holder can apply for a new CVFA license, and simply let the CCFA lapse… Cox (areas R12, R15 & R17) is currently in the position to do this.