Your voice is vital for the retention of your community television services–the PEG channels and facilities. Access Tucson is the only public access television station left standing in Arizona. In recent years public access television facilities, across the state, have closed their doors due to a lack of citizen support.
License renewal negotiations between the City of Tucson and Cox Communications have thus far failed to produce a proposal that meets community needs. Now the City is required to collect input from citizens to review the findings of city audits, surveys, focus groups and town halls.
This document is unofficially known as the Cable Needs Assessment Report. Comments must be received no later than December 29th, 2006. It concludes the City needs 7 channels to meet community needs.
Cox said in a press release, “It is regrettable that the City has gone down this road……They are sacrificing our customer’s desire for more high-definition channels and on-demand programming, in an attempt to keep imposing higher taxes and to protect local access channels that have little or no viewership.”
Do you really need to make a choice between your community PEG channels and high definition channels and video on demand? The Report shows that you can have both.
According to results from the city survey, more that half of those polled supported the PEG channels. And an independent engineering firm, hired by the city concluded “…that in the Tucson market, as a matter of corporate policy, Cox has chosen not to provide video-on-demand (VOD) at this time.”
The report goes on to say that if the necessary VOD server and signaling equipment were installed, it would “free-up” capacity on the Cox system in order to provide more cable channels and high-definition channels. A VOD upgrade should have no impact on the PEG channels.” The upgrade could be ready in six months time, the engineering firm concludes.
The Cable Needs Assessment Report asks the question “Can Cox afford to satisfy local needs and interests?”
The Report: “Cox is the 4th largest cable provider in the nation. It has had the most success in gaining new telephone customers and dominates the broadband market in Arizona. The company has also raised rates twice in the past two years.” The report goes on to say Cox has seen an increase in the number of cable subscribers, including those it has taken back from satellite competition.
The head of the Arizona Consumer’s Council likens Cox’s dominance in Arizona to a monopoly, resulting in higher prices.
We urge you to take a look at the Cable Needs Assessment Report and support the City’s position. The report is massive, but there are useful summaries at the beginning of most sections.
If you didn’t speak up during the recent City-held Town Halls or fill out a survey; it’s not too late. Let the City and Cox know how you feel. Visit these websites:
City of Tucson
Tucson Theatre Announcements List
Archive and subscription information on http://tucsonstage.com