Charter to Cut Off Service to First Responders

Press Release

August 15, 2011

American Community Television (ACT) received word today that Charter Communications intends to cut off cable service to police and fire departments in small towns in Missouri, unless they now pay to receive these services.

“Cable service to municipal buildings has been provided free of charge for over thirty years as part of the franchise agreements in exchange for cable companies’ use of the public rights of way,” said John Rocco, President of ACT.  “This move by Charter demonstrates the failure of the statewide franchising laws in Missouri and across this country.”

Historically, local governments would negotiate with the cable operator for free service to municipal buildings, schools, libraries, police and fire department buildings.  The service was considered part of the obligation of cable operators as they built their plant in the public rights of way.  However, since Missouri adopted a statewide franchising regime, local governments have lost the power to regulate cable providers.

“At this time, when municipalities are barely making payroll, Charter has decided that it can make a profit on the backs of police and fire departments,” said Rocco.  “The connections are already there, the service doesn’t cost Charter anything.  We haven’t heard of other cable companies doing this, only Charter.  It’s despicable.”

ACT intends to file comments in the upcoming Video Provider Report which will be issued by the Public Service Commission citing Charter’s actions and the issue of Charter slamming the Public, Educational and Government (PEG) access channels to the 900’s.

American Community Television educates and advocates on behalf of Public, Educational and Government (PEG) access television.  To contact Mr. Rocco, please call 410-992-4976 or john@acommunitytv.org or email Bunnie Riedel, executive director, at riedel@acommunitytv.org.

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