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HI: State Seeks Input on Upcoming Cable Franchise Renewal

By saveaccess
Created 06/19/2008 - 7:19am

from: Hawaii Reporter [1]

State Seeks Input on Upcoming Cable Franchise Renewal
By Keali'i Lopez, 6/17/2008 3:59:54 AM

In the recent past, we've kept you informed about past proceedings, including the RFP and legislative bills and resolutions that could impact Public, Educational and Governmental (PEG) Access.

We think it is important to keep you up to date on all opportunities to provide input helping to shape and manage community access services and resources. Coming up is perhaps the greatest opportunity you will have to help chart the course of community access television on Oahu for the next 15 to 20 years.

This summer, the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) will begin requesting public input on the upcoming Cable Franchise Renewal process for the entire state. The outcome of this process will affect all cable subscribers and enable you to determine if cable access services should remain intact, expand or be limited.

As background, in 1989, the DCCA awarded Oceanic the franchise to operate cable services on the island of Oahu. As part of that franchise, the DCCA required Oceanic to provide PEG Access services for the O`ahu community, which Olelo was created to manage. These services include dedicated channels for PEG programming as well as training, equipment and operations that make community programming possible.

The franchise crafted in 1989 will expire at the end of this year. The franchise laid the foundation for the thriving PEG Access environment O`ahu has today because it included input from people and organizations representing a diverse cross-section of our community. Just as the efforts to create the current franchise made the successes of the past 20 years possible, the new franchise will define the possibilities for PEG Access for the next 15 to 20 years.

In July, the DCCA will host a community needs assessment, and they again need to hear from everyone on Oahu. With the accessibility of newer, greater technology, so much is possible. But with the increasing climate nationwide to eliminate funding for access services, much is at stake. Your input during this process can have far-reaching consequences.

Think about:

How community access has benefited your community

What kinds of services, facilities, equipment, and training would you want to have supported? Expanded?

What are your community's needs? Do the current access resources satisfy them? Do you see more needs?

Do you have concerns about changing technology and how access can support this? i.e. high definition, video on demand, connectivity into communities so that more live programming can be generated, etc.

If you had the chance to speak to Oceanic to let them know how important PEG access is in your community, what would you say?

At this point, the DCCA has not set a firm date for the public meeting portion of their needs assessment, but it is tentatively planned in early or mid July. With the process in flux, it is important for us to be able to contact you so that your voice can be heard. Please be sure to update your contact information with us if necessary.

Community members, leaders and organizations speaking to the importance of PEG access resulted in a franchise agreement that has allowed for the creation and management of one of the leading PEG Access centers in the country. It is important that we do not take this opportunity for granted. If we don't speak to what we all need, it is very likely our needs will be dictated to us.

Please plan to come out and help shape the future of community access on Oahu. We will continue to keep you up-to-date as the specific dates and locations of the meetings are identified.

Thank you for your continuing support of PEG Access in Hawai`i.

Keali'i Lopez is the President and CEO of Olelo Community Television.

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