Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Comcast Cable Renewal

Amherst Media is also currently looking for a new home

The Cable Advisory Committee, that once every ten year entity, is about ready to send out the Request For Proposal to Comcast for the renewal of their ten year franchise agreement worth over $6 million per year to the corporate giant.

Based on the desires of subscribers heard over two ascertainment hearings the Committee will be requesting $2.2 million in one time capital outlay to replace cameras, computers, routers, as well as replacing the entire transmission line for Amherst Media, our local access TV provider.

Ten years ago that amount was only $450,000 but the transmission lines were not then part of the renovations.  And while it's hard to calculate exactly, if approved Comcast will pass along that cost to subscribers and it will be in the $2/month range.

The Select Board will hold a public hearing after Comcast responds to the RFP, which will have a 30 day deadline.

The general public can then weigh in on whether they still support the change and/or improvements to service they requested knowing what it will cost them over the next ten years.

Last night the Amherst Select Board authorized Amherst Media to spend their own money ($18,000) on an audit of Comcast.  This morning the Cable Advisory Committee requested their attorney to go ahead with hiring a consultant to do that two year audit, even though he previously opined against it.

In addition the CAC  will be sending a memo to new Temporary Town Manager Peter Hechenbleikner requesting he persue UMass over a possible illegal cable franchise.

UMass switched from town approved Comcast to Charter a few years ago for the 13,000 or so students who use cable and the Amherst Select Board never granted them a license.

Something that costs Comcast $300,000 per year.

Bottom left:  Steven Brewer, President Amherst Media Executive Committee and Alisa Brewer Chair Amherst Select Board attended this morning's CAC meeting


Anonymous said...

The whole thing is a disfunctional clown car. Pay $2 a month? I've deleted the channel from my remote. It's a joke.

Dr. Ed said...

Larry (and Steve), you need to remember that every UMass apartment & dorm room has TWO DIFFERENT CATV CONNECTIONS -- in addition to the HSCN one, there is the Amherst-Franchised one which people can purchase if they wish.

To get it, they had to purchase the town-franchised service, memory is that a couple did and then recorded the relevant stuff for the rest. The franchise fee pays for ACTV (including the ability to both use their stuff and to broadcast your productions) -- if the UM kids were denied all three of these things because they are outside of the franchise, why should they have had to pay for them???

Conversely, looking at the issues WMUA is dealing with right now, do the ACTV folks really want 18,000 UM students outvoting them -- on everything? Do you really want your stuff "spiked" in favor of a "beer pong" tournaments and incoherent rants about the APD?

Anonymous said...

True. Frankly I think this town would be better off with less citizen micromanagement. The cable channel can only make things worse in this regard. It's a playroom for adults funded by those of us who like to watch TV. WMUA had it right - boot out the freeloaders.

Dr. Ed said...

"Community Access" CATV is a legacy of a bygone era -- 20-30 years ago, this very blog could ONLY have existed as either a paper-based publication or as a CATV broadcast. And back then, video was analog, audio mostly as well -- and we were dealing with 1.44 MB floppies, not 32 GB flash cards that are incredibly cheap.

Anyone remember the car-sized projection TVs? Or having to wait until the 6 PM news to get the weather forecast? Or having to be home by 11:30PM to catch SNL back when it was actually funny unless your parents had a Betamax? (Anyone under the age of 40 even know what a "Betamax" even *was*, let alone even seen one?)

Anyone remember what "Wayne's World" was a SNL parody of? (Or of the too-true SNL parodies of Hampshire College?)

Much of the stuff that once was on community-access channels is now on U-tube, or Snapchat, or a link posted to Facebook, or Twitter, etc.......

Reality is that on-demand is replacing scheduled broadcast and cable TV.
As a venue to teach & nurture production skills, outfits like ACTV have a future -- but as a means of distribution, those days are gone. The concept of a shielded copper wire connected to a Cathode Ray Tube has gone the way of the rotary dial phone and the concept of sending pulsed signals to mechanical "crawlers" climbing the walls of TELCO buildings.

Anonymous said...

Or the way of obsessed blowhards that don't even live here.

Anonymous said...

Keep scrolling, keep scrolling, keep scrolling; damn!!!
There's got to be an easier way. Help Larry, HELP!!!

Dr. Ed said...

Give me what I want and I will go away.