Democracy in action | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Democracy in action

Posted By on Tue, Jul 11, 2006 at 7:39 PM

I can't promise that I'll stay awake to the end. I'm theoretically on vacation and flying out of here at 5:40 a.m. Wed. morning. But for a good dose of democracy in action, I recommend Comcast Channel 11 and the LR City Board (currently in recess) on the proposal to let AT&T sell TV service by its broadband TV line. Comcast opposes, of course. (UPDATE: The city board fell one vote short, 7-3, of fast track approval.)

Very interesting dynamic. City Attorney Tom Carpenter makes it clear he'd prefer a franchise agreement under which Comcast operates. He fears a taxpayer lawsuit (atty. Gene Sayre is in attendance) if the city pulls a loosey goosey deal on revenue from the AT&T proposal.

City Manager Bruce Moore and Director Dean Kumpuris are advocating strongly for AT&T. What's the harm, they say, in a "temporary" (three-year) agreenment while Congress also gets its mitts on IPTV, the acronym for TV by phone line.

Director Joan Adock is fighting on behalf of Comcast -- fiercely. Laugh if you want. This woman is informed. She's found a number of serious legal problems in the very ambiguous deal for AT&T. And really, why should AT&T get looser, easier rules for providing the same service Comcast provides?

We're going to keep watching.

Here's what I want to know in the meanwhile, but I bet AT&T is short specific answers, just as it was on so many questions Tuesday night.

I gave in last night. I called Comcast and after a half-hour or so of dickering added full basic digital coverage and two premium channels -- HBO (because I have to have Sopranos, Larry David, Entourage, etc.) and Showtime (because they're the new HBO with dramatic series). In three months, it jumps up to $89 a month, or so. If I remember correctly.

Can AT&T provide the same, or more tailored service, for less? Will they offer a la carte channels, as they've hinted? Or was that just a bait-and-switch. If they are competitive, as a TV watcher, I say let them in. As a customer of LR city services, I understand the revenue stream down the line should be important, too. But that means nothing if it's tonight that I want to watch "Curb Your Enthusiasm."

 

 

 

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