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Marianne Paskowski



Comcast Blows Off First Responders in Michigan

August 10, 2007 3:54 PM

Shame on them. Something just hit my desk today, which really ticked me off. Comcast, the nation’s largest cable provider, is cutting off its free cable service to police and fire stations throughout the state of Michigan, according to a PR Newswire story today. The hubris is beyond belief.

Michigan was one of several states to enact statewide franchises and apparently, there are some unintended consequences as local municipalities got cut out of the game. So here’s what happened. Comcast wrote a letter to Michigan regulators basically saying that it would no longer provide complimentary service across the state to police and fire departments. This is the dumbest thing I’ve seen in ages.

That’s largely because the state enacted a statewide law that cut off local authorities from regulating cable, and now Comcast seems to think it has the liberty to ignore many of its existing agreements to the locals.

We already know that Comcast and other large multiple system operators want to get out of PEG (public, educational government) commitments. I’ve seen it here where I live. But this move with first responders is beyond my comprehension.

So weigh in, is Comcast getting a little heady here?

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Comments (11)

I wasn't aware that Michegan police and fire stations were getting free cable service but while I agree this is bone stupid public relations, pulling this particular perq doesn't especially bother me. What's more troubling is the basic notion that unlike broadcasters, who must continue to endure federal regulations (and all the politically-motivated crap now layered upon them) cable franchisees have no responsibility to operate in the public interest. If Comcast doesn't have the common sense to keep honoring local agreements because they're ultimately good for business then -- SIGH -- perhaps it's time to regulate the cretins.

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Arthur,

You are a broadcast guy. I am a cable chick. By and large all local police and fire forces get free cable.But changes are afoot, largely because of the new statewide franchise renewal system, largely crafted by Verizon.

But the munis are fighting back and winning. It's a back door approach. Smart munis, in their franchise renewals are getting funding for institutional networks, a step beyond PEG, and out of the control of a cable provider. Michigan, apparently was not that smart.

I really hate this stuff, but feel duty bound to report as little as I know about this new development.

Marianne

west coast Dave:

stupid stupid stupid.....I believe the Michigan PD's and Fire services should go satelite now with a reason.I also think most local Veterans groups would most probably PAY the fees!!! I know I would contribute to stopping stupidity!!
Non-appreciation of those who sacrifice is worse than some sin ( no I won't say which haha) I guess I am just a bit biased having sat in many a PD and many a fire house for short durations between calls.( along time ago in a galaxy far far away)
idiots idiots idiots is about all the repetitions that can be repeated without vulgarity.....
115 pounds and blond?? Mar; that may be one of those sins haha xxoo West Coast Dave

Marianne Paskowski:

Dave,

I guess the real solution, other than me bellyaching about this, is for those munis in Michigan to take the franchise fees from Comcast and build their own institutional networks.

Marianne

D'Shady1:

I don't live in Michigan but I do live in the real world and I'm a comcast cable and internet subscriber. Municipal entities never got "free" cable from comcast because we paying subscribers were the ones unwriting this expense. Why? Why should police and fire departments get free cable while on the job? I can understand why fire stations have cable but since cities don't pay for the other expenses of firemen living in these stations why should they be entitled to free cable. The fireman nextdoor to me has cable in his house and everybody in the house chips in for the service. So what's the big deal Marianne? And cops? What in the world do they need free cable for in the station? I would hope they are all out in the street where are supposed to be and not huddled around a TV set. This is really a very trivial matter and hardly anything to be upset about. If you'd really like a cable issue to investigate how about this: why is it when I'm watching a cable program I have to turn the volume up so I can hear it but as soon as a commercial comes on the volume is loud enough to be heard down the block?

Marianne Paskowski:

Shady,

Remember cable is not just video programming it's about broadband connectivity, ala cable modems and Internet phone. That's why I'm irked.

Marianne

Cable Guy729:

Arthur wrote: "What's more troubling is the basic notion that unlike broadcasters, who must continue to endure federal regulations (and all the politically-motivated crap now layered upon them) cable franchisees have no responsibility to operate in the public interest. If Comcast doesn't have the common sense to keep honoring local agreements because they're ultimately good for business then -- SIGH -- perhaps it's time to regulate the cretins."

Broadcasters use a public resource to operate: the public air waves. That's hardly the same as cable who would be able to operate completely free of the public airwaves if required to. As soon as broadcasters give the airwaves back to the American people so we can better use it for mobile communications the sooner they can operate like Cable does and dispense with their incessant whining about onerous Federal regulations.

Marianne Paskowski:

Cable Guy:

I'm not holding my breath on the digital transition happening soon.

Marianne

D'Shady1:

Yes, I know it's more than video so what. Are you thinking that municipal governments get free electricity, free gas, free phones? No they don't. They have to pay their bills just like us except they get to use our money. I don't see why cable companies, meaning their subscribers, should have to provide a free service that no other utility is required to do. My position remains the same Marianne now what did you find out about audio levels and how they are controlled?

Marianne Paskowski:

Shady,

Now about your other problem, commercials being louder than programming that is an age old problem that nobody has fixed. I have written about it, not in this space, but only for 20 years to no avail. The silence is deafening. Thanks for weighing in.

mp

bobblebum:

Walk out of the room for commercials, look out the door, hug your kid or spouse, grab something to drink.. then the loud commercials are useless.

Defeat the purpose of the commercials.

Comcast sucks anyway, can't wait for their strong hold on Philly to be broken with Flyers, cable, etc in the city.

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