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News and comments on community broadband networks, the communities deploying them and the technologies that support them. Published by Denise Frey and Al Bonnyman.

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Monday, August 04, 2003

 

Once again, a cable company takes the low road in opposing a proposed municipal cable TV system

Once again, a cable company takes the low road in opposing a proposed municipal cable TV system

"FAIRHOPE -- A cable viewer flips through the offerings on his local system. On one channel is a view of the Fairhope city clock. He clicks the remote again and finds on the next channel ... another view of the Fairhope city clock. More and more rapidly, he stabs the remote only to see more angles of that familiar landmark or a picture of the Fairhope city welcome sign. At the end of this scene, part of a 30-second commercial airing in Baldwin County, a message asks viewers to "Say No to Government Censorship" and to "Vote No to Government Cable Control on Aug. 12."

1. The 250+ existing municipal cable systems elsewhere in the U.S. don't censor cable programming any more than commercial systems. In many cases this would even be illegal.

2. If the city rolls out a municipal system, Mediacom would still be available as a choice. They just don't like being a just a "choice" or an "alternative" -- they want to stay a "monopoly". They don't want Fairhope to have a choice.

The regional Mediacom executive, Mr. David T. Kane even shamelessly admitted:
"The ad may seem a little bit extreme, but we had 30 seconds to make an impact and make our point."
Special rules for special people? Mr. Kane seems to think so -- the rest of us are expected to tell the truth, even if it's inconvenient or doesn't fit into 30 seconds, but he's not (is Enron still hiring?).

This will get uglier -- check out the Tri City Broadband web site for just how ugly, nasty and deceptive the cable TV company in Illinois eventually got.

Is building a municipal broadband system the right thing for Fairhope citizens to do? I don't know -- that's up to them to decide. What I do know is that they should expect something worthier in this debate from Mediacom than falsehoods from some executive in Florida. If that's all they have to offer their Fairhope customers, maybe that says a lot about why Fairhope needs a locally-owned system.

Fairhope needs Annie Collins (a veteran of the Tri City wars) in there fast! And Jim Baller, too.

Article

(Link from Jim Baller at the Baller Herbst Law Group via his mailing list)

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