September 24, 2014

Mayor’s Comcast support raises concerns

In “Mayor’s Comcast support puts donors over customers,” Chicago Reporter’s Curtis Black reports that Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s endorsement of the $45 billion Comcast-Time Warner merger bid occurred days after Comcast announced it was abandoning its local franchise in Chicago in favor of a state franchise.  Notes Black, “That move raises concerns over some of the issues on which Emanuel offers reassurances to the regulators, and some he ignores- customer service, universal coverage and support for public access TV.”

Black reports that state laws have led to the closing of at least 100 cable access centers. And Comcast's recent closure of the Skokie public access center followed 13 other stations in Illinois communities served by Comcast that closed from 2005-2011.

In the article, Committee for Media Access (CMA) members Gordon Quinn and Phyllis Logan note the importance of public access channels. CMA is seeking public hearings before the Chicago City Council to help ensure Comcast's move to a state franchise won't jeopardize CAN TV or minimize protections for Chicago's Comcast customers. As the Chicago Reporter article notes, "...when the state cable law comes up again in Springfield, whose interests will our elected officials represent - their communities or their contributors?"

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