A bill in the Legislature, AB 2987, has drawn a lot of attention because it would allow phone companies to provide television to customers, creating competition to cable companies like Comcast. But AB2987 would also eliminate plans to create 86 digital video hubs in San Mateo County, sites from which live programming could be fed to local cable TV subscribers. Bob Marks, director of Peninsula TV, the county’s local access station, says the bill would essentially eliminate the current franchise agreement with Comcast and reduce funding for channels like Peninsula TV. Reporter Susan Bohan of the San Mateo County Times interviewed Marks for this Q&A.
Corey Young, a reporter for the Argus-Courrier in Petaluma, writes that AB 2987 will hurt that community’s public access station, known as PCA. It will also curtail TV service for low-income residents and possibly take away a city’s ability to negotiate and obtain fees from TV providers. A state agency will be set up to negotiate TV contracts on behalf of cities, under AB 2987.
AB 2987 has already won approval in the state Assembly and now is before a Senate committee. The Sacramento Bee says the battle over the bill is the most expensive the Legislature has seen since electric deregulation.