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You are the future of cable TV

Public planning workshops will determine the next decade

If the city doesn't get it right on cable TV this time around, it won't have another chance for the next ten years. The city is holding a series of Community Media and Technology Planning Workshops Nov. 9, 10 and 12, conducted by the nationally recognized Buske Group, to solicit input for the cable franchise agreement. And this time around, the city is you.

It's not just about the rates viewers are paying for cable, and it's not just about TV. It's about the opportunities technology can create for neighborhood organizations, community groups, local businesses, government agencies and even individuals to have a vocal impact on local issues, or just get their information out to the public.

Those opportunities could include updated and improved media and video production facilities for schools, youth groups, community organizations and individuals; classes for youth and adults on using those facilities; and people produced television on local issues broadcast locally.

But, according to Sue Buske, the city's ability to demand those opportunities will be in direct proportion to the turnout and input at the workshop series.

Since September, Buske's Group, in collaboration with Andrew Maxwell of the Cable Focus Groups in the city's Department of Community Development, has been networking with local groups to develop audiences for the workshops, and will prepare a Needs Assessment Report, with recommendations for the city administration in negotiating the franchise, anticipated next spring.

The current franchise is held by Time Warner Cable, but a turf war looms as Verizon has announced its intention to compete for cable subscribers in both the city and county.

A key element in the negotiations will be the facilities and equipment, and their maintenance, for public access television, as well as the quality of its transmission, and the marketing of the service.

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