Saturday, September 23, 2006

Key PA Senate Vote On Community Media: Contact Senator Browne!

See the important action call from Prometheus Radio Project.

Call and urge Senator Browne to oppose the Pennsylvania video franchise bill (SB 1247):

Sen. Patrick Browne
(717) 787-1349

Hello Community Media Supporters of Pennsylvania, and Greetings from the Prometheus Radio Project!

We met with you earlier this summer to learn about the great work you are doing in your community, and to plug you into a network across Pennsylvania that would let you know when opportunities came up to fight for local control over your communications networks! Now, your community needs your help to fight for local control over video service
in your area.

On Tuesday, September 26th, both the state House of Representatives and the Senate will be voting on two companion bills that would allow Verizon to deliver video and phone service to our homes. Sounds okay at first -- cable companies across the state need strong competition -- except that the bills would move all decisionmaking that communities have over video delivery services to the state level. Today, communities across Pennsylvania have negotiated funding for school and emergency services communications, public access television, and much more with their cable companies. If Senate Bill 1247 or House Bill 2880 pass next week and are signed into law:

-- Cities and neighborhoods that are hard to reach, don't make enough money, or are otherwise deemed 'economically infeasible' can be denied access to new video service.

-- Cities without public access TV channels already on the air might lose their opportunity to build them -- and cities with public access TV might lose their right to negotiate for new funding or new channels.

-- If we have complaints about our video service, our cities have fewer tools to fight for our consumer protections.

-- Our state legislators will have no power to deny any company a franchise in our cities or towns, unless the applicant fails to fill out the application form right!

Here is the rest of the call.

The bill, as Free Press has pointed out, lacks any protection for net neutrality.

You can read an analysis of the bill, by PennPIRG, here.

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