May 29, 2014
The Comcast Way: First, Kill PEG Access Television
Simultaneous to projecting itself as a corporation that has the public’s best interest at heart in order to push through approval of the merger of Comcast with Time Warner, Comcast is waging war on Public, Educational and Government (PEG) access television in America’s heartland.
“I find it ironic that Comcast is desperately trying to position itself worthy of merger approval when in Minnesota they’re trying to cut the PEG access support fees by 90% and reduce the number of channels by as much as 50%” said John Rocco, President of American Community Television. “They turn the idea of negotiating in good faith on its head.”
On February 13, 2014, Comcast announced its merger with Time Warner, assuring regulators and the public that ultimately they would deliver a new and improved product that benefits consumers while not harming competition and consumer choices (http://tinyurl.com/kepuyjv). In that same announcement, Comcast states “In every transaction, we have over-delivered on our public interest commitments.”
Further in the announcement, Comcast states: “PEG channels would be protected from migration to digital in the acquired systems that are not yet all-digital (unless otherwise agreed by the LFA), and would be protected from material degradation.”
“Making a concession to a digital transition of PEG channels, does us no good if those channels are stripped of their funding or reduced in number,” said Rocco. “As usual, Comcast shows open hostility toward PEG access television and shows its true colors when it comes to meeting the public interest.”
There are over 40 PEG access operations in the state of Minnesota. American Community Television is monitoring the situation in Minnesota with interest.
“We have learned that once a cable operator is able to run rough shod over one community, they will do the same to other communities,” said Rocco. “We believe the FCC and the Justice Department should be watching the situation unfolding in Minnesota.”
Mr. Rocco can be reached for comment by calling 410-992-4976 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or contact Bunnie Riedel, Executive Director at email@example.com. American Community Television educates and advocates on behalf of Public, Educational and Government access television.