To the Editor
A Cable TV Advisory Council meeting was held on Wednesday, February 26, 2017 with WFSB and Cablevision in Thomaston on the forced Channel 3 blockage to our area.
I was asked to write a list of action items that the people can help take a part in stopping this blockage and updating cable service to meet our current needs for the public.
Public support and action is needed to get our state and federal government to bring the FCC broadcaster and cable regulations up-to-date for our current needs.
The FCC rules on broadcasters and cable TV have not changed much in decades, certainly not enough to handle the changes in how the people use and depend on these services today.
Most of these rules predate the Internet when TV was an NTSC uncompressed signal that required the entire bandwidth of a cable system to carry 120 channels. Today TV is highly compressed to less than 20% of the transport and ethernet is the major signal. There is no quality of signal in place for the compressed TV or streaming video. This needs to change.
We are also locked into a sole source of programming at our homes with one cable company without price controls and no competition allowed to us. This needs to change.
Currently most of the western part of CT that is served by Cablevision has no CBS network access due to a disagreement in fees due for the service by the broadcaster. Every business has the right to make a profit and be paid for services rendered.
However, the increase requested is 280%, 3 cents per subscriber per day. There are 250,000 subscribers in CT. This is over $2,700,000 a year increase. Currently 200,000 of the 250,000 in Fairfield and southern areas get CBS out of NYC. Only the 50,000 of us in Litchfield County get nothing from CBS.
The people are being treated like slaves because they live in an area claimed by both a broadcaster and a cable operator. In this case WFSB cannot reach the area with off air service. WFSB and CBS can only be delivered by cable in these areas. Note, the Internet has free access in this country. Cable has moved TV service to Internet or digital transport, so why are we restricted to 1992 TV analog cable rules? These must be changed to meet today's usage.
Since WFSB cannot provide an off-air solution in our area, the 2007 FCC waiver and regulations giving them or any other broadcaster that cannot deliver off-air service should not be allowed sole source authority or own us.
We need all the people served by cable to demand our government at federal and state levels to make changes to the requirements at the FCC and make new franchise requirements to cover these actions:
1. WFSB cannot reach this area with off-air service. Therefore the FCC shall remove the restriction on this area only being served by them or any other broadcaster that cannot serve with off-air.
2. Require broadcaster services be maintained during negotiations. If the allotted time runs out then change the current rules of excluding FCC intervention and require the FCC to step in and decide alternate methods to serve the people. If need be, they can set up an arbitrator to make this happen.
3. Bring cable transport system requirements up to the current requirements for the people. This will require cable transport at our homes to provide competitive supplier services (TV programming, Internet and IP Phone) to our homes that we can pick and choose from any cable supplier in the state by pricing, services and content as open competition. We need to end the cable monopoly and slave rule.
3. Set defined quality standards on all compressed video, both MPEG, 256QAM and streaming for image and audio levels and quality.
5. Change the FCC requirements to make local broadcasters provide extra antenna locations to cover the state area for all to be able to get off-air signals for free.
Chairman CTAC Litchfield