The Island wide Cable Advisory Board (CAB), voted on Monday, January 24, to release a cable television license renewal request in the form of a request for proposals (RFP). A new contract would replace the 10-year license under which Comcast currently provides television service. That license will expire on June 30, 2011.
The RFP seeks financial information from Comcast and provides an assessment of the current state of Comcast’s service as well as a so-called “wish list” of services, fees and capital funding the towns want over the life of a 10-year license renewal.
The proposed license renewal contracts are largely the same for each town, however Edgartown’s contract includes language that would provide for cable service to Chappaquiddick island. Chappaquiddick residents have television reception via satellite providers now.
The CAB includes representatives from the six Island towns. It’s job is to negotiate terms of a license agreement with the cable service provider. After a negotiated agreement is reached, each of the six towns signs an agreement, typically for ten years, with the cable provider.
CAB representatives, an attorney retained to represent CAB, and a consultant brought in to help develop a needs assessment for the future, have said that Comcast is likely to be the sole responding provider.
Jennifer Rand, town administrator of West Tisbury and CAB chairman, said selectmen in each town would likely review the documents.
Under terms of the current license agreement, Comcast pays the town five percent of the cable television revenues it receives annually from an estimated 10,000 Island subscribers. The annual fees have been about $400,000 based on Comcast’s annual Island cable revenues of $8 million in recent years.
The revenues are used by Island public access TV provider MVTV to operate three public access channels (Channels 13,14, and 15) on the Comcast system here for public, education, and government affairs. Cable service licensees are required to provide public access channels by federal communications law. Comcast also provides capital funds and equipment to support MVTV and to provide other services, such as remote broadcast locations in the six towns. Massachusetts law requires that the funds may be used only for public access TV.
Under Federal Communications Commission (FCC) law, communities may negotiate only for cable television service, not for telephone or internet services often provided by cable companies. Towns may not set rates that consumers pay, nor do they have any say in determining or changing programming, including packages offered by the cable provider.
The FCC rules set a specific timetable for the license renewal process, to begin six months before expiration of a current license. Attorney William Solomon of Stoneham, MA, said the RFP would be in Comcast’s hands by January 28, to provide Comcast with time to respond to the RFP. Comcast is expected to make its own counter-offer, Mr. Solomon said, adding that he expects negotiations to begin in February.
Following receipt of Comcast’s response, the CAB and Comcast will begin negotiations to reach agreement on terms of the license renewal. The towns must decide whether to grant a license within four months after receipt of an operator’s proposal. In the event agreement is not reached by June 30, FCC rules say that Comcast will provide uninterrupted cable service until negotiations are concluded.
Island towns and the CAB have taken an aggressive stance in advance of negotiations, working in conjunction with MVTV, which hired a community cable consultant, The Buske Group in Sacramento CA., to work with Julienne Turner, MVTV’s new executive director, to host a series of public forums to gather resident comment and to provide background on trends and strategies used by community access groups elsewhere in the country. MVTV also conducted a poll of Island residents to develop a needs assessment for the negotiating process.
Following the Monday CAB meeting, Edgartown CAB representative Pam Dolby said extension of cable to Chappaquiddick is underway. “We saw that NStar was laying new cable from Edgartown to Chappy and we put them together with Comcast and that’s working out fine, I think, but we’re going to put language (for service to Chappaquiddick) in the RFP anyway,” she said.
While several Tisbury town officials recently called for more financial reporting from MVTV, Tisbury representative Fred LaPiana said on last week that the town “is comfortable going ahead (with the RFP) as is, but we’d like to institutionalize a process of reporting” with regard to funds received by MVTV.
Mr. Solomon said on Tuesday that Tisbury will develop a separate agreement with MVTV to receive updates on the monies it receives. Mr. Solomon said that while towns do not have issues with MVTV’s management of its affairs, “…institutionalizing the process is a good idea. Probably every town should have an agreement like that,” he said.
Island “Wish List” includes
The CAB wants Comcast to provide a fourth public access channel devoted to culture, arts and events, availability of cable for all residents, PEG video-on-demand service on the cable system, expansion of remote broadcast sites and two-way live broadcast systems as part of the cable company’s license renewal agreement. Two-way broadcasting allows a broadcaster to monitor and adjust the quality of the broadcast in real time.
William Solomon, CAB attorney, summarized the major negotiating points in a telephone interview this week from his Stoneham office. The Island request for proposal (RFP) to Comcast will also include strengthening and expansion of services to remote sites and to municipal buildings, including four town libraries (Aquinnah, West Tisbury, Tisbury, and Edgartown), which are not currently wired for live programming.
Noting that negotiations are a give and take process, Mr. Solomon said, “The towns want to provide cable service to all or as many residents as possible. They want to look at eliminating or reducing population density requirements as well as including a listing in the cable license agreement of the roads and ways that will have cable service going forward. We also want to retain the 250-foot drop distance in the current agreement.”
Under the current agreement, Comcast must provide service at a standard installation rate to customers who are within 250 feet of its service line.
Mr. Solomon said the towns would also present some ideas during negotiations to encourage the development of “municipal i-nets,” electronic systems that connect various town buildings for transmission of video, voice and data.
REQUEST FOR PROPOSALFOR CABLE TELEVISION RENEWAL LICENSETO COMCAST OF CONNECTICUT/GEORGIA/MASSACHUSETTS/NEW HAMPSHIRE/NEW YORK/NORTH CAROLINA/VIRGINIA/VERMONT, LLC TOWN OF WEST TISBURY MASSACHUSETTSJanuary 27, 2011Response DateFebruary 28, 2011I. INTRODUCTION In accordance with Section 626 of the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984 (the “1984 Cable Act”), the Town of West Tisbury (the “Town”) has conducted ascertainment in order to identify and analyze a number of issues in connection with the renewal of the current Cable Television Renewal License (the “Cable License”), which was originally granted by the Town of West Tisbury, through the Board of Selectmen acting as Issuing Authority, to Martha’s Vineyard Cablevision, L.P. d/b/a Adelphia Cable Communications, with an Effective Date of July 1, 2001, expiring on June 30, 2011. II. FORMAT OF THIS RFP AND THE REQUIRED RESPONSE This Request for Proposal (“RFP”) contains: (i) the within RFP document, (ii) Ascertainment Documents, and (iii) proposed Renewal License provisions regarding a number, but not all, of the identified “future cable-related community needs and interests”. All of these comprise the Town’s identified “future cable-related community needs and interests”. The Licensee should demonstrate how its proposal will meet the future cable-related community needs and interests, taking into account the cost of meeting such needs and interests. More specifically: 1. The Licensee must respond to and answer all questions and requests for information included in the RFP. 2. The Licensee must submit a complete proposed Renewal License. 3. In evaluating the Licensee’s Proposal, the Town will consider whether the Licensee’s Proposal is reasonable to meet the cable-related community needs and interests, taking into account the cost of meeting such needs and interests, as provided for in Section 626(c) of the Cable Act. III. DEADLINE AND TRANSMITTAL FOR SUBMISSION OF PROPOSAL The deadline for submission of a proposal is Monday, February 28, 2011. The Town will agree to an extension of time if requested by the Licensee. The Licensee should submit one (1) original and five (5) copies of its Renewal Proposal, in loose-leaf binders or by another suitable binding method together with an electronic copy of all portions of the Renewal Proposal which the Licensee has in electronic format, to Jennifer Rand, Town Administrator, 1059 State Road, West Tisbury, Massachusetts 02575. A copy of the RFP must also be sent to the Town’s Special Cable Counsel, William H. Solomon, 319 Main Street, Stoneham, Massachusetts 02180 within ten (10) days of submission to the Town.IV. DETERMINATION REGARDING RENEWAL OR PRELIMINARY ASSESSMENT OF NON-RENEWAL BY THE BOARD OF SELECTMEN AS ISSUING AUTHORITY The Board of Selectmen, as Issuing Authority will make its determination regarding the renewal of the Licensee’s Cable License, including the RFP submitted by the Licensee, pursuant to Section 626(c)(1) of the 1984 Cable Act (47 U.S.C. 547) on or before Thursday, June 30, 2011.V. QUESTIONS REGARDING THE RFP All questions regarding this RFP, including, but not limited to questions regarding procedures or interpretation, may be posed in writing to Jennifer Rand, Town Administrator, 1059 State Road, West Tisbury, Massachusetts 02575. (Faxed correspondence to (508) 696-0103 and telephone calls must be followed-up by the mailing or delivery of said inquiry in order to be deemed a formal inquiry.) VI. TOWN OF WEST TISBURYWest Tisbury is a Town in Dukes County, Massachusetts. $ Population: 1,704 (2009); $ Land Area: 25.03 square miles; $ Density: 68 per square mile of land area;$ Senior Citizens (65 years of age and older): 10.1%; and• Martha’s Vineyard Communities – Aquinnah, Chilmark, West Tisbury, Oak Bluffs, and Edgartown.Overview of the Town of West TisburyWest Tisbury was first settled by English settlers in 1669 as part of the town of Tisbury. The town was officially incorporated in 1892, the last town on Martha’s Vineyard to be incorporated. Despite its separation from Tisbury, the original settlement of the town is still located in West Tisbury. Historically, it has been the agricultural heartland of the island. Up through the 1980s West Tisbury was one of the quickest growing communities on the island.
West Tisbury is mostly rural, with more forestation to the north and east and most of the town’s agrarian areas around the brooks that feed into Tisbury Great Pond and its surrounding ponds. The Sound side of town also has several ponds; none are nearly the size of the Atlantic side ones. There are several refuges and reservations around town, the largest being the Long Point Wildlife Refuge just east of Tisbury Great Pond. The town is also home to approximately half of the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest, which dominates the center of the island. Just south of the forest lies the Martha’s Vineyard Airport, which the town shares with Edgartown (although the facilities are mostly in West Tisbury). The airport provides regional service to airports on the mainland and Nantucket.West Tisbury is governed on the local level by the open town meeting form of government, and is led by a Board of Selectmen. The police station is located at the beginning of Edgartown-West Tisbury Road, and the town has two fire stations; located farther up Edgartown-West Tisbury Road and near the business district. The post office is located north of North Tisbury, and the West Tisbury Free Public Library is located just north of the town center.West Tisbury is a part of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional School District. The West Tisbury Elementary School serves the town’s approximately 275 students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. The town’s high school students attend the Regional High School, which is located in Oak Bluffs. West Tisbury is also home to the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School, which offers K-12 education.Martha’s Vineyard Community Television Inc. (“MVTV”) On Martha’s Vineyard, local participation and institutions matter, and they matter a great deal to the all, from business to government, youth sports to seniors’ activities, to Martha’s Vineyard Community Television (“MVTV”). It is by and through local institutions, such as MVTV, that the residents and businesses of Martha’s Vineyard participate in an active community and civic life. It is no accident that the Mission Statement of MVTV states that: Martha’s Vineyard Community Television Corporation, Inc. is a community-based Not-for-Profit 501 (c)(3) corporation formed to facilitate, encourage, and promote community involvement in the production of locally-originated television programs by offering free access to our production facilities, training programs and cable channels to all citizens of our service area. As written by Julienne Turner, Executive Director of MVTV: Community Access Television stations such as MVTV exist to provide access to the media, with little or no cost, so that the people in the community can have their own voice. As our friends in the Alliance for Community Media are fond of saying “Community is our first name”. Public, Education and Government Access TV provides the public with free access to the use of television, via the cable television network, as a way to reach other members of their community. Cameras, editing equipment, and technical direction are made available through an agreement with the cable service provider which, in Martha’s Vineyard’s case, is Comcast.Island residents can create any kind of programming they want, whether it be sharing a special interest or talent, or educating the community on local historical or environmental issues, or even entertaining them with an artistic or musical program.VII. DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE All of the following documents are incorporated by reference into this RFP in the same manner as if they were attached hereto. (Additional documents referenced throughout this RFP are also incorporated by reference herein.) A. The existing Cable Television Renewal License granted to Martha’s Vineyard Cablevision, L.P. d/b/a Adelphia Cable Communications, with an Effective Date of July 1, 2001. B. All FCC Rate Forms (other than those for equipment and installation, such as Form 1205s) submitted by the applicable cable licensee, including Comcast Cable and its predecessors, since January, 2005, which shall also include all Local Franchise Cost Worksheets. D. All Cable Division Form 100s, 200s, 300s, 400s and 500s since January, 2005.E. Transcript of First Public Hearing Regarding Cable License Renewal, August 24, 2010.VIII. REQUEST FOR INFORMATION The Licensee must provide all of the following information with its Proposal:A. Financial and Operating InformationThe Licensee’s proposal must include the following information with respect to each of the following areas and/or entities: (i) the Licensee’s West Tisbury franchise area; (ii) the system/general ledger which includes the West Tisbury franchise area; and (iii) Comcast of Connecticut/ Georgia/ Massachusetts/ New Hampshire/ New York/ North Carolina/ Virginia/ Vermont, LLC. 1. Financial Information a. Full Financial Statements (audited and unaudited), including all of the following for each of the last five (5) years: i. Income statements; ii. Balance sheets; iii. Cash flow statements; and iv. Any footnotes. b. Financial projections for the next ten (10) years, including: i. Income statements; ii. Balance sheets; iii. Cash flow statements; and iv. All footnotes or attachments indicating assumptions made, including projected operating statistics. 2. Operating Information a. The Applicant should submit its projected operating statistics for each of the ten (10) years of a license term in the Town of West Tisbury, including: i. Number of miles of cable plant; ii. Number of homes passed; iii Number of basic subscribers; iv. Number of pay units; and v. Number of other types of subscribers by category. b. The Applicant should submit its anticipated operating Projections for each of the ten (10) years of a license term in the Town of West Tisbury, including: i. Detailed revenue by type, including: Subscriber Revenues a. Installation Income b. Equipment Revenue c. Basic/Other Tier Subscriber Revenue d. Premium Channel Revenue e. Pay Per View Revenue f. Digital Service Revenue f. On Demand/Interactive Cable Revenue g. Other Subscriber Revenue – including all revenue attributable to cable operations not included above. Non-Subscriber Revenues a. Advertising Income b. Home shopping Revenuec. Other Income – all other income including income attributable to leasing or sale of time or facilities. ii. Detailed expenses by type, including: Direct Operating Expensesa. Programming Expensesb. Net Bad Debt and Collection Expensesc. Salaries and Benefitsd. Repairs and Maintenancee. Light, Heat, Powerf. Pole and Duct Rentalg. Administration – Office and Billingh. Marketingi. Local Originationj. Other – All other direct operating costs not included above.Depreciation and Amortization a. Depreciation b. Amortization Capital Expenditure Amounts for Plant and equipment in each of the Years 2004 through the present. The Applicant is encouraged to submit any other financial information reflecting upon the financial condition and/or financial qualifications of each of the above referenced three (3) levels: (i) the West Tisbury franchise area; (ii) the system/general ledger which includes the West Tisbury franchise area; and (iii) Comcast of Connecticut/ Georgia/ Massachusetts/ New Hampshire/ New York/ North Carolina/ Virginia/ Vermont, LLC. B. Proof of Performance Tests The Licensee must provide all Proof of Performance tests of by and/or for Comcast Cable since January 2005.C. Franchise Related Costs The Licensee’s proposal must itemize (in writing) all local franchise related costs anticipated to occur over the term of the Renewal License, specifically identifying those costs that the Licensee intends to treat as external costs pursuant to FCC rate regulations or which it intends to add on to maximum permitted rates as a separate line item on a subscriber bill. Please specifically identify in detail the amount of local franchise costs which are included in your current rates for the Town of West Tisbury, and how these costs are reflected in the rate (i.e. treated as external costs, embedded in the residual portion of the rates, or added onto maximum permitted rates as a separate line item on a subscriber bill). Wherever the Licensee’s proposal would reduce or eliminate a benefit received by the Town pursuant to the current Renewal License, including with respect to PEG Access support or funding, the Licensee’s proposal must also itemize any changes in Licensee’s costs expected from each such reduction, and should itemize those costs which will be deducted from external costs or the residual portion of the rates, as required by FCC regulations. IX. ASCERTAINMENT/ DOCUMENTS – FUTURE CABLE-RELATED COMMUNITY NEEDS AND INTERESTS A summary of the Town’s Ascertainment and the Town’s Ascertainment documents are referenced below. In addition to the future cable-related community needs and interests listed and described below, the ascertainment documents, which also include certain proposed Renewal License provisions, reflect and describe the Town’s “future cable-related community needs and interests, taking into account the cost of meeting such needs and interests.” Thus rather than providing all of the Town’s community needs and interests in the body of the RFP, the Town’s cable related needs and interests are also included within the ascertainment documents, including the proposed Renewal License provisions. All future cable-related community needs and interests described or otherwise included in this RFP must be addressed by Comcast in its response to this RFP, both in its narrative response and by addressing said need and interest in its proposed License. The failure of Comcast to include a corresponding license provision(s) in its proposed license will, unless further clarified by Comcast in its Proposal or proposed license, shall be deemed to mean that Comcast has decided not to address the particular community need and interest as outlined in the RFP or has done so in a manner different that outlined in this RFP, as the case may be.Please also note that this RFP does not include a proposed dollar amount with respect to PEG Access Capital Funding For Equipment and Facilities. The capital funding amounts for PEG Access facilities and equipment described in this RFP reflect the cable-related community needs and interests, without “taking into account the cost of meeting such needs and interests.” The Licensee must, in its Proposal, include a specific dollar amount as to PEG Access Capital funding for Facilities and Equipment (including the building and/or renovation costs for a building “taking into account the cost of meeting such needs and interests.” A. Interest in Public, Educational and Government Access There is a very strong interest and appreciation of Martha’s Vineyard Community Television, Inc. (‘MVTV’) and PEG Access in the Town of West Tisbury, MA. As noted, by Community Needs Assessment prepared for MVTV’s consultant, the Buske Group of Sacramento, CA:To identify cable-related needs and interests in the Towns, the consultants of the Buske Group: • conducted a series of six community focus group workshops – attended by representatives of area community groups, organizations, educational institutions, government agencies and citizens – to help identify current and future cable-related needs and ascertain attitudes about existing cable services and programming;• distributed questionnaires to the focus group participants that were designed to identify community cable-related needs and interests, assess whether current local cable TV services and resources are adequate and appropriate, and help to identify changes that might be made to meet future community cable-related needs and interests in the Towns;• prepared and conducted an on-line survey for Martha’s Vineyard residents that included the same questions as those in the focus group questionnaire, thereby permitting residents who were unable to participate in the focus groups to provide input to this Community Needs Assessment;• prepared and distributed questionnaires regarding the existing PEG Access facilities, equipment, programming and services that are provided in Martha’s Vineyard;• inspected the existing PEG Access equipment and facilities; • reviewed the testimony provided by residents of Martha’s Vineyard at four “Comcast Cable Ascertainment Hearings” conducted by the Cable Advisory Committee on December 7-8, 2010; and• analyzed all data gathered and prepared this report for the Towns.General conclusions from responses to a survey questionnaire returned by focus group workshop participants or answered via an on-line survey:• A large majority of these survey participants who subscribe to the Comcast cable TV service answered either “Excellent” (28.7%) or “Good” (54.0%) when asked to indicate their level of satisfaction with the quality of the picture transmission from Comcast. Also receiving relatively high scores was the reliability of the cable TV system. However, few of these Comcast subscribers answered “Excellent” (1.2%) or “Good” (16.3%) when asked to indicate their level of satisfaction with the fairness of the rates for basic and premium cable TV services.• Of the survey respondents who do not subscribe to the Comcast cable TV service, over half of them said they don’t subscribe because of reasons related to lack of availability or the cost to have service extended to their home.• About 89% of all subscriber-respondents indicated that they had previously watched Public Access Channel 13, Educational Access Channel 14, and Government Access Channel 15 (operated by MVTV) on the Comcast system. Of those who had watched these channels: – Well over half (56.9%) said they had watched at least once each week. – Over 75% said they found out about MVTV programming by ‘channel surfing.’ – The MVTV programs that respondents most frequently said they had watched more than five times were “Board of Selectmen meetings” (63.7%), “The Vineyard View” [33.8%], and “High School Football” [24%]. • Of all survey respondents: 80% knew that community organizations can have programs about their services and activities appear on an MVTV channel; and 71.3% knew that they can learn how to make programs to show on an MVTV channel, using equipment provided free of charge.• Of the survey respondents who had helped to produce or appeared as a guest on an MVTV program, 43.5% said the MVTV production facilities and equipment did not meet their needs. The most often suggested improvements were “bathrooms”, “classroom/training space”, and “portable cameras with more advanced capability”. • Overall, the survey respondents gave high ratings to the services provided by MVTV, especially assistance in reserving the production equipment, introduction to the MVTV facilities and services, and maintenance of the production equipment & facilities. • When all survey respondents were asked which local programming topics they were “Very Interested” or “Interested” in seeing, they most often indicated: – Programs about Martha’s Vineyard arts, history and culture (92.5%) – Programs that address local issues and suggest solutions for problems (92.4%) – Informational programs about services and activities of Martha’s Vineyard organizations and clubs (85.5%) – Electronic schedule of MVTV programs (85.3%)• Nearly all of the survey respondents said it is either “Very Important” (69.0%) or “Important” (25.6%) to have local, noncommercial cable channels that feature programs about Martha’s Vineyard residents, organizations, schools, government, events and issues.• Survey respondents were asked how much of their monthly cable bill should be set aside to support the development of local, noncommercial cable channels that feature programs about Martha’s Vineyard residents, organizations, schools, government, events and issues. Of the Comcast subscriber-respondents who provided an answer (other than “Don’t Know”) the average or mean of all responses was $4.75. This average compares very favorably to five commercial channels that were similarly tested (ESPN, Comcast SportsNet, MTV, Sci-Fi Channel, and Fox News Channel), as the averages for each of them were $1.08, $0.58, $0.53, $0.47, and $0.27, respectively.During the brainstorming portion of the focus group sessions, participants identified the following community needs, interests, and concerns:When asked to identify the key issues facing Martha’s Vineyard residents and organizations in the next five years, most often mentioned were concerns relating to:• Economic Development / Jobs / Cost of Living / Poverty / Housing (affordable housing; cost of living; local economy; unemployment; local agricultural needs; future growth; development; community preservation)• Environment (alternative energy; climate change; coastal protection; fisheries; wastewater management; “living green”; trash/recycling) • Health and Human Services (access to medical care; caring services for seniors; lack of doctors on MV; mental illness issues; substance abuse)• Technology, Telecommunications and Media (Comcast outages; lack of Comcast service in many areas; lack of high speed internet; more media outlets)• Government (lack of local governmental collaboration; cost of government; financial shortfall in all Towns; regionalization; Steamship Authority; zoning)• Education-Related Concerns (cost of education; aging school buildings; need for distance learning opportunities for adults; shrinking school enrollment)• Communication Problems, Networking, Funding (access to information; digital literacy; no computer in homes of some families)• Diversity/Demographics/Race-Related Concerns (aging population; immigration concerns; language barriers; race relations)• Infrastructure/Transportation (mass transportation; parking; traffic jams)• Crime, Public Safety (disaster preparedness; emergency management)• When asked what makes it difficult for community organizations, Town government departments, or schools to effectively communicate with their constituencies, the leading areas identified were: – Lack of time, funds, communication skills, collaboration – Expensive, complicated, inaccessible or inadequate communications media – Inadequate PEG Access resources and services – Audience issues, apathy, information overload, other interests, etc. – Language, cultural and other barriers – Impact of other media outlets• When asked how their organizations or agencies would like to use cable or PEG Access and a Community Media Center to inform, entertain, and educate Martha’s Vineyard residents, over 100 program types and concepts were identified. Included among them were: 24/7 live streaming of local access channels, distance learning, arts calendar, community events, educational telecourses, environmental programming, gardening, guest speakers who are on MV, high school news programs, how-to programs, job training programs, library/archive of local programs, live call-in conversations, live on-location coverage, local news, local override over all channels for emergency alerts, memorial services, oral histories, PEG Access in HD, programs about NPOs in the community, school closings, video on demand, youth media programming. • When asked what would make it easier for their organization or agency to use cable or PEG Access channels and a Community Media Center to communicate, the top categories of need were: – Cable Company’s Infrastructure, Equipment, System Design, Policies, etc. (e.g., ability to do live interactive programs; ability to transmit PEG in HDTV; cable service available to more areas; PEG channels schedules on EPG; reducing cost of cable) – PEG Access Facilities and Equipment (e.g., better audio quality on government meetings; community media center with bathrooms, classroom, studio; ongoing equipment replacement to keep up to date; upgraded equipment to high definition at MVTV) – PEG Access Staff, Assistance, Services, Collaboration (e.g., additional staffing at MVTV; facilitation of community media savvy people with people who have messages; interns (high school and college); qualified & trained volunteer pool) – PEG Access Training (e.g., classes offered at various times of day/week; NPO media/PR training; tighter coordination with high school for training) – PEG Access Operations/Policies (e.g., expanded hours of operation at MVTV, MVTV plan to evolve to a community media center).During the two public hearings that were held in West Tisbury, and Chilmark, commonly identified community needs, interests, and concerns included the following:• The lack of cable service in certain sections of Martha’s Vineyard and the need for this to be satisfactorily addressed in the new license agreement.• Widespread support for MVTV and the need to expand and improve the resources provided to support its important services and programming.• The need for PEG Access channels to be grouped together on the lowest cost tier of service.• The ability to show public emergency announcements on all cable channels.• Live transmission capability from public buildings.• Free cable service to public buildings, schools and libraries.• Comcast workers’ rights.• The need to continue having a cable customer service office on Marta’s Vineyard.• A rate structure that adequately addresses the needs of low income, senior and part-time residents.The residents, nonprofit organizations, community, civic and service groups, local governments and the school system all realize that the PEG Access channels on the Comcast Cable system and the programming that is produced and cablecast on them are an important means of community participation and education and the learning experience that is gained from participation in the creation of that programming is an incredibly valuable community communications resource that needs to be valued and utilized during the period of the next ten year license with Comcast Cable. And there is the sense that the whole community is willing to support it on every level. There is also a cable-related community need and interest in improving and expanding Public, Educational and Governmental (“PEG”) access operations and programming. As explained in the MVTV Community Needs Assessment (CNA), speakers at the four Public Hearings talked about not just the importance of the current MVTV services and programming on their lives, but also the need for future PEG Access services that allow for: (i) the expansion of PEG programming on Public Access Channel 13, Educational Access Channel 14 and Government Access Channel 15,; (ii) a fourth Access Channel for arts, culture and events; and (iii) a separate Community Bulletin Board for each Access Channel.Quite a few of the speakers at the Public Hearings mentioned how important the PEG programming is to the lives of the communities when they noted that this programming is an invaluable resource to the citizens, residents and cable subscribers to stay informed about everything happening in the communities since there is no local broadcast television coverage, very little local broadcast radio coverage on Martha’s Vineyard and the local newspapers do not provide comprehensive local coverage. Only MVTV provides comprehensive local coverage and plans to increase the amount of meeting coverage to enhance community involvement in local government and schools decision making. MVTV plans to upgrade it remote production capability by replacing the portable single camera video taping system used in recording meetings so that each of the Town Halls have its own installed multiple camera robotic system that will increases the quality of the video coverage without requiring increasing the number of crew members. This will permit MVTV to do “more with less” given the fact that the franchise fees are capped at 5% of gross revenue. There is a need for sufficient capital funds for equipment and facilities in order for MVTV to carry out its plans to enhance, upgrade and expand its current video production and cablecasting equipment as well as expand the existing facility or build a new facility, as outlined in Appendix E–MVTV’s Proposal for Future Funding and Service, thereby allowing the use of Operational revenues for operations, as intended, and not, absent special circumstances, for capital equipment and facilities. 1. PEG Access Needs and Interests• There is a cable related community need and interest in continued financial support for the operations of PEG Access at five percent (5%) of gross annual revenues with the full definition of gross revenue (including, but not limited to subscriber and non-subscriber revenues, and all revenues from franchise fees, license fee, PEG access fees and other fees charged and itemized to subscribers by the Licensee). $ Increasing funding for MVTV will allow for further expansion of outreach to residents, community groups, businesses, nonprofit organizations and educational institutions. $ MVTV will be able to continue its pro-active outreach. This insures, that among other things, access users are offered and provided training in how to use the channel(s), equipment and facilities that allows residents, community groups and nonprofits to actively participate in the development and production of programming. $ Continued and increased informational, promotion and training efforts will encourage and nurture volunteers. Even greater student involvement will be key as students can gain valuable knowledge and internship credit. Having access to the training in television production and content creation provided to the students also creates Pathways to Learning in higher education and jobs in the content creations field in the future. Lifelong learning by adults and senior citizens will inspire their creativity. As a consequence, additional use and demand will be placed upon the Access facility/studio.$ There is a cable-related community need and interest in increased Government Access coverage, particularly coverage of important issues being reviewed and considered by the Town boards and committees. Coverage of even more government meetings would allow for a more informed public able to fully participate in Town issues. Cable coverage of government meetings should include significant live coverage and taped replays as well. Town department heads expressed a great need and interest in obtaining assistance from MVTV in order to place information and programming on the Government Access Channel. Town officials and employees expressed a strong interest in videos, of good visual and sound quality, about their services to the public.2. Continuing And Further Improving A Successful PEG Access Program$ The Access Corporation seeks to further build its PEG Access Program with an active and sustained outreach effort. Increased informational, promotion and training efforts will encourage and nurture volunteers. Even greater student involvement will be key as students can gain valuable knowledge and internship credit. Lifelong learning by adults and senior citizens will inspire their creativity. As a consequence, additional use and demand will be placed upon the Access facility. $ Promotion will build even greater viewership of these Access channels. This expanded viewership will then increase participation in program production thus giving the cable subscribers the local content they want and deserve. 3. PEG Equipment & Facility – Capital Needs The primary findings of the Buske Group’s Community Needs Assessment regarding the existing PEG Access operations, facilities and equipment in Martha’s Vineyard found:• MVTV provides public, educational and government access programming and services to residents of Martha’s Vineyard. MVTV manages the use of production and playback equipment, and also provides training and other services to help individuals and organizations create and distribute their programming. MVTV reports that it employs three full-time equivalent staff members (plus contract staff to record government meetings) to oversee production activities at its facility. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. No weekday evening or weekend hours of operation are provided. • Total funding support for MVTV grew from $371,474 in 2007 to $404,160 in 2009. Nearly all of the funding comes from Comcast’s license fees to the Towns, supplemented by small amounts from MVTV membership fees, contributions, video sales and interest income. • The MVTV facility is housed in a small building (1,560 square feet). The facility includes a small production studio, control room, an editing room, a playback master control room, an equipment storage room, and two offices. The MVTV facility does not include restroom facilities. The nearest restrooms are located in another building – 451 feet from the MVTV facility. • MVTV has 12 camcorders available for public use, several video editing systems (including some laptops for check-out to permit editing to be done at home), and three “Tricaster” video switching units for use in the studio or field. Although the MVTV equipment is eight years old or less, some items (e.g., several of the camcorders and associated field production accessories) have been heavily used, are in fair condition, and need to be replaced/updated. MVTV will need to make a transition to fully digital recording and playback equipment, including camcorders, editing and studio equipment, and master control servers and distribution technology, interconnected to move content from production/post-production locations to master control and on to the MVTV channels and the Internet. • In 2009, 1,068 hours of local first-run programming was presented on MVTV’s Community Channel 13, Education Channel 14 and Government Channel 15. Including replays, about 15,700 hours of locally produced or “imported” programming were presented on the MVTV channels in 2009. MVTV’s “Proposal for Future Funding and Service” (Exhibit E) provides the organization’s vision for the next ten years – a desire to evolve beyond the twentieth century version of PEG access television station to a Community Media Center, with a variety of services related to media and technology. The MVTV proposal lists a number of needed changes to and expansion of its current services and resources. Accordingly, the proposal also includes a number of specific requests of the Licensee during the next License period, to help meet the identified community-related PEG access needs and interests.As outlined in both summary and detail in the Community Needs Assessment (CNA), MVTV has an extensive plan to enhance, upgrade and expand its video production and cablecast equipment capability in order to meet the documented cable-related community needs and interests. Included in the CNA are plans to upgrade Studio A to a complete HD Studio and Control Room and replace the lighting instruments. With a MVTV Facility expansion, a new Studio B, Flash Studio, would be created to simplify the studio production process. All of the non-linear editing equipment would be replaced and expanded. The meeting rooms would have new digital robotic cameras and production equipment installed. New multi-camera mobile production packages would be added, which will greatly enhance MVTV’s live and taped production capability. And its cablecast equipment would be upgraded to enhance its capabilities.$ Up to date, new equipment, that is user friendly equipment, safe and provides quality picture and sound, are all important factors in choosing and purchasing equipment. Rugged professional equipment rather than consumer or “prosumer”, is often necessary and cost effective. For example, a consumer grade One Chip Digital Camera is not even close to broadcast standard. All equipment purchased should reflect the transition from a mix of analog and digital equipment to a complete digital production and distribution system, which is now being experienced by PEG Access Centers. Digital equipment tends to have a faster depreciation time than analog equipment.$ Funds should be allocated for sets, props and set design. Television is a visual medium. Aesthetics play an important part in the general comfort level of the viewers and impacts on the message that is being transmitted. People watch television. They may not realize it, but they know the difference between good and bad production values and will turn the channel if it is not watchable. • Since increased usage of the access studio will result in more studio/editing demand, additional editors, together with management, scheduling and programming software is a priority.• Equipment must be replaced and/or upgraded when needed throughout the life of the License agreement. The capital plan should provide for both scheduled and unscheduled replacement and upgrade. The Licensee must, in its Proposal, include a specific dollar amount it proposes to provide for the PEG Equipment and Facility capital needs, “taking into account the cost of meeting such needs and interests”. The Licensee must fully explain, in reasonable detail, the basis for such proposal, including, but not limited to, explaining the basis for differences with the needs and interests outlined and detailed in the CNA (Appendix D) and the Martha’s Vineyard Community Television, Inc., Proposal for Future Funding and Service, Submitted January 11, 2011 for entry into the Martha’s Vineyard License Renewal Ascertainment Record (Appendix E.)4. PEG Access Channels• There is a cable-related community need and interest in maintaining the current three (3) PEG Access Channels, and adding a fourth (4th) system-wide PEG Access Channel for Martha’s Vineyard arts, culture, history and events. As described at the public hearing, by quite a few of the speakers, a fourth Access Channel that would be devoted to a Martha’s Vineyard Arts, Culture and Events (ACE) Channel for a Community Bulletin Board listing events and video programming that would feature all of the many artists, writers, poets, historians and the many arts and culture organizations in these communities now that has helped transformed the Vineyard from a Fishing/Whaling/Farming Economy into a Creative Economy, based on arts, culture and tourism.” As noted by Chuck Sherwood, the Community Media Visioning consultant, the new “ACE Channel would provide arts, cultural and event information for those experiencing Martha’s Vineyard for one day or for a lifetime. See also Appendices A, D, E and F. (The specifcas of Town’s involvent in ACE subject to Agreement)• The Licensee shall monitor the PEG Access Channels for technical quality, both audio and video, and shall ensure that they are maintained at standards the same or better than those which apply to the Cable System’s commercial channels and shall comply with the applicable FCC Technical Standards, provided, however, that the Licensee is not responsible for the production quality of PEG Access Programming productions, nor for any deficiencies in the source signal it receives from any party over which the Licensee has no control. As noted in the Community Needs Assessment prepared by the Buske Group: 4. There is a need and interest in ensuring that the signal quality of PEG Access channels as viewed by subscribers is equivalent to that of the other channels. The signal quality problems on the MVTV channels noted in this report must be corrected. Over 80% of the survey respondents said that the picture and sound quality on the MVTV channels is lower than the signal quality of the other channels on the Comcast cable system. Such a disparity in the perceived signal quality for the PEG Access channels as compared to Comcast’s other programming services necessitates appropriate corrective action and ongoing attention to this matter in the future. The minimum that is necessary to meet this need and interest is to ensure that there are high-quality, well-maintained, and regularly monitored bi-directional fiber optic links between the MVTV master control/playback system and: (1) the company’s hubs and headend; (2) each Town Hall; and (3) all other remote transmission sites. • Comcast shall provide the PEG access channels with the same functionality such as stereo, SD and HD capacity, as provided to the commercial and public television channels on the Martha’s Vineyard cable system. See Martha’s Vineyard Community Television, Inc., Proposal for Future Funding and Service, Submitted January 11, 2011 for entry into the Martha’s Vineyard License Renewal Ascertainment Record (Appendix E.)$ The Town will not agree to allow the Licensee to reclaim “unused time” on a PEG Access Channel, pursuant to 47 USC 531(d)(1)(2) or otherwise. Such a provision in a cable license would, besides being unnecessary, would be cumbersome and lead to unnecessary disputes.5. Location of PEG Channels MVTV and PEG Access is strongly identified with Channels 13 (Public Access), Channel 14 (Educational Access) and Channel 15 (Government Access). It is in the interest of all, including Comcast and its cable subscribers, to maintain the PEG Access Channels at these channel designations and the new 4th ACE Channel should be adjacent to these channels. The Licensee is asked in its response to this RFP to commit to maintaining these channel designations for the PEG Access Channels, and in the event the Licensee does not make such commitment in its response to this RFP, the Licensee is asked to state what commitment it will make with regard to the channel location of the PEG Access Channels, including, but not limited to: (i) restricting the movement of any Access Channel to the first forty (40) channels; (ii) reimbursing MVTV for actual and reasonable expenses arising from the relocation of any such access channel; (iii) providing notice of such change(s) on its cable system and on cable bills; and (iv) providing written notice to its cable subscribers. The Licensee shall compensate MVTV for rebranding and promotion costs if PEG access channel location(s) are changed. 6. Transition to Digital – There is a cable related community need and interest for the transition from analog to digital channels for PEG Access as referenced in the draft Renewal License. All cablecasting shall comply with the applicable FCC Technical Standards. – The PEG Access channels shall continue to be cablecast to Subscribers in analog format unless and until all other channels on the Cable System are delivered in a digital format only, unless otherwise agreed to by the Issuing Authority. – PEG Access channels shall also be cablecast to Subscribers in digital format not later than when fifty percent (50%) or more of the commercial Programming channels are being transmitted in digital. (As noted above, analog transmission shall continue until all other channels on the Cable System are delivered in digital format only.) – At such time that PEG Access channels are delivered in digital format, the Licensee shall be responsible for all costs associated with transmitting PEG Channels from the signal source to the Licensee’s Headend and to Subscribers in digital format. – Digital cablecasting of PEG Access channels must be in accordance with applicable FCC regulations, shall have the same bandwidth and transmission quality comparable to that provided for commercial channels in a similar format, provided, however, that the Licensee is not responsible for the production quality of PEG Access Programming productions, nor for any deficiencies in the source signal it receives from any party over which the Licensee has no control.See the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s), January 18, 2011 approval – with conditions and enforceable commitments – for the assignment and transfer of control of the Comcast-NBCU transaction. (Appendix H.) As noted in the FCC’s press release regarding this approval:The Applicants have also made a number of additional voluntary commitments, many of which the Commission has adopted as conditions to the transaction’s approval. Most of these commitments are geared toward enhancing the public interest as a result of the joint venture. The commitments include: [….]• Public, Educational, and Governmental (“PEG”) Programming. Comcast will safeguard the continued accessibility and signal quality of PEG channels on its cable television systems and introduce new on demand and online platforms for PEG content. [Emphasis added.]As stated, in pertinent part, by Comcast (David L. Cohen, Executive Vice President, in Public Policy) in its January 18, 2011, posting on its “Comcast Voices” website (Appendix H.): Below are some of the key commitments we agreed to implement after the close of this transaction. You can expect to see additional announcements in the weeks and months ahead as we follow through on these commitments. Committed to Serving the Public InterestIn connection with Comcast’s acquisition of NBC Universal, we have announced a number of public interest benefits and commitments that will allow us to better meet the entertainment, communications, and information needs of American consumers. These benefits and commitments represent part of the business plan for the joint venture and expand on the existing strengths of Comcast and NBC Universal, and the new opportunities this combination makes possible. We have also made commitments and agreed to conditions as part of the transaction that seek to treat competitors fairly. We believe these commitments do not impair the competitive positioning of any of the Comcast or NBC Universal businesses, and will not interfere with our ability to operate this business combination as originally planned.Expanding Program Choices and Access to News, Information, and EntertainmentInnovative Public, Educational, and Governmental (PEG) Delivery: Comcast is committed to providing support for PEG access programming, and has pledged not to migrate PEG channels to digital delivery on any Comcast cable system until the system has converted to all-digital distribution or until a community otherwise agrees to digital PEG channels, whichever comes first. To enhance localism and strengthen educational and governmental access programming, Comcast will also develop a platform to host PEG content On Demand and online within three years of closing, and is beginning its work with local pilot communities on this exciting new model. [Emphasis added.]As provided in the FCC’s Memorandum and Order, January 20, 2011 Release Date, In the Matter of Application of Comcast Corporation General Electric Company and NBC Universal, Inc. For Consent to Assign Licenses and Transfer Control of Licensees:XIV. PEG CONDITIONS 1. Comcast shall not migrate PEG channels to digital delivery on any Comcast cable system until the system has converted to all-digital distribution (i.e., until all analog channels have been eliminated), or until the governmental entity that is responsible for the system’s PEG operations pursuant to the law of the state in question otherwise expressly agrees, whichever comes first. In any event, Comcast shall provide advance written notice to the system’s franchising authority and to its local community of its intent to migrate the PEG channels of the system in question.2. Comcast shall carry all PEG channels on its digital starter tier (D0), or on an equivalent tier that reaches at least 85 percent of the subscribers of the Comcast system.3. C-NBCU shall not implement a change in the method of delivery of PEG channels that results in a material degradation of signal quality or impairment of viewer reception of PEG channels, provided that this Condition shall not prohibit Comcast from implementing new technologies also utilized for commercial channels carried on its cable systems (including, but not limited to, digitization and switched digital video). Comcast shall continue to meet FCC signal quality standards when offering PEG channels on its cable systems and shall continue to comply with closed captioning pass-through requirements. See Appendix H.7. PEG Access Origination/Video Return/Municipal Area Network-I-Net Substitute – It shall be the obligation of the Licensee, at the Licensee’s cost (to obtain all PEG Access programming from the origination locations. The Licensee’s responsibility shall include, but not limited to, the provision of all necessary equipment for such cablecasting. The Licensee shall be responsible for all transmission, processing and switching equipment, including, but not limited to, transmitters, receivers, modulators, switchers) necessary to assure such PEG transmission, including all maintenance, repair, and replacement. – The current PEG Access origination locations are:1. Town Hall;2. Council on Aging;3. Grange Hall of West Tisbury (“Grange Hall”); and 4. Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society. Based on the report of Greg Hall of BROADLink Technology Solutions, LLC, reference below, the Town has become aware that the West Tisbury School and Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School, which are listed as Origination Sites in Exhibit 7 of the current Renewal License, have not been completed and activated by the Licensee. The Town will be requesting such completion and activation under the current Renewal License, and is hereby noting the need and interest of continued activation as an Origination Site for any new Renewal License. – Greg Hall of BROADLink Technology Solutions, LLC tested the Origination sites on the Island on January 5th and 6th of this year, and provided a report entitled “MVCT Video Origination Site Cable System Quality Assurance Testing”. (Appendix I.) Which provides, in pertinent part, as follows:PrefaceThe Martha’s Vineyard Community Television (MVTV) Video Live Origination sites were visited and tested on technical merit in January of 2011 by BROADLink Technology Solutions, LLC of Portsmouth, NHThe purpose of testing was to qualify technical compliance of the video links with FCC Part 76, subpart K specifications and quality of general use of said video links. The list of locations to be tested is provided herein. A number of the locations were unable to be tested because they were never installed and subsequently do not exist. The list provided herein identifies those locations.The system was found to be a single direction, return only system consisting of one channel (channel 2). It is a passive RF system with no amplifiers or equalization. The system is currently being used for only one channel (channel 2). The system was specifically tested for FCC compliance of ‘end of line’ signal level, in-channel response and spectrum response. It was further tested for ingress and egress, however showed no traces of either as problems. System testing was done using an RF sweep platform sweeping each link from 54MHz to 862MHz. Test results relating to in-channel and partial spectrum responses are extrapolated from sweep data captured. System results also identify is the links can be used in a bi-directional split network (Mid-split) capacity as future needs of the Communities develop.Test results & findings are provided herein. Additionally, three locations (Aquinnah Hub Site, Chilmark Hub Site, and West Tisbury Hub Site) were visually tested for video quality of transmission over the system fiber and were found to be a good quality signal for MVTV’s use.”Summary”The findings of this report reveal that the Live Video Origination Site locations have mixed capability for use by the Communities and MVTV.All locations tested (except those in West Tisbury found to be in need of repair) are acceptable for use as return video sites for channels between 2 and 6; however, a couple of them (Aquinnah Circle, and Chilmark Town Hall) require additional padding to bring them into FCC ‘end of drop’ compliant levels. Regarding system use as mid-split bi-directional network, allowing signals in both directions; more than half of the links are not currently capable of providing a bi-directional network to allow for video in both directions. (Upstream video is needed and will be used for viewing the PEG Access programming being cablecast and for other uses, including training and educational uses from municipal and school buildings.) Additionally, diplex filters would need to be deployed to create forward and return path isolation.Additionally, less than one quarter of the location will support a partial spectrum (300 MHz) system, which is needed to support a bidirectional network to allow for video in both directions. (While the 862 MHz parameter was used for testing, such spectrum capacity will not be needed for PEG Access, other video services or to provide other services traditionally provided by an I-Net. Less than one sixth of the locations will support a full spectrum system out to 862 MHz.) In its current capacity, the system is only usable as a return only system for up to five return channels.- The report made the following “Findings Results” with respect to the following locations in the Town:• Town Hall (Howes House):SITE SPECIFIC NOTES: No Drops active at this location. Low end roll off issue. Suggests center conductor suck out, loose connector or water corroded connector/component in outside plant.FINDINGS RESULT: Location meets FCC In-channel and spectrum response specifications within the low band (Ch 2 through 6). It further meets spectrum response specifications for a 300 MHz system as well as an 862 MHz system. Location does not meet FCC minimum requirement at end of subscriber drop. Location is not usable as a bidirectional drop.• Grange Hall SITE SPECIFIC NOTES: No signal/response from this siteFINDINGS RESULT: Location not usable • Agricultural Center SITE SPECIFIC NOTES: No signal/response from this siteFINDINGS RESULT: Location not usable – The new location, which needs and requires PEG Access origination, is the:• West Tisbury Library, 1042 State Road – There is a strong need and interest in having a bi-directional video return system. As noted, upstream video is needed and will be used for viewing the PEG Access programming being cablecast and for other uses, including training and educational uses from municipal and school buildings. (See Appendix D. )- The Licensee shall upgrade and maintain the primary PEG origination locations with optical fiber as necessary to assure improved signal quality and reliability. Appendix E – Martha’s Vineyard Community Television, Inc., Proposal for Future Funding and Service, Submitted January 11, 2011 for entry into the Martha’s Vineyard License Renewal Ascertainment Record. – The Licensee shall describe the methodology and technology by which it will provide video return under a new cable license to the existing and new PEG Access origination locations referenced above. This Licensee’s proposal shall a listing of the specific equipment, and the cost thereof, for making the video return system bi-directional, which would include video feeds back from the Access studio to each origination location. – The Town believes the most effective means to provide PEG Access video return going forward, is for the Town to construct a municipal area network (“MAN”) which in addition to providing PEG Access video return to the Access studio (where the signal would be obtained by the cable operator for its return to its headend and then to its cable subscribers), will meet the needs and interests of the Town in the same manner as would an Institutional Network (“I-Net”) with respect to such other traditional I-Net uses, including data uses. Included in Appendix I is a “Report on Municipal Area Network” from Comm-Tract Corp., Bryan Hopkins, which outlines the basic plan, and provides a cost estimate for, a MAN. The Licensee is encouraged, but not required, to provide as an alternate option to the upgrade of the video return network described above, the provision of funds to the Town in an amount that reflects the costs incurred for the construction and installation of the MAN to provide PEG Access video return (with accompanying audio) only. (Additional cost for other uses such as data, telephony and other video uses, while consistent with the intent and uses of an I-Net, and therefore, in the opinion of the Town, under the jurisdiction of the Cable Act, would have to be borne by the Town and parties other than the Licensee.) This alternative option would be available for selection by the Town prior to the issuance of a new Renewal License. – The Licensee shall provide reconnection at no charge via fiber to the headend, should MVTV relocate during the franchise period. Appendix E – Martha’s Vineyard Community Television, Inc., Proposal for Future Funding and Service, Submitted January 11, 2011 for entry into the Martha’s Vineyard License Renewal Ascertainment Record. 8. Listing of PEG Programming on Licensee’s Electronic Program GuideIn order to strength and promote PEG Access programming (as well as Comcast’s cable service) to cable subscribers, the Licensee should provide PEG access program listings in the Licensee’s electronic program guide provided to its subscribers. This listing would allow subscribers to much more easily access PEG Access programming, in a manner consistent with accessing other programming. PEG Access Programming should not and must not be left behind. Electronic listing of PEG Access Programming will also allow subscribers to far more easily record such programming by using equipment such as DVRs. The Licensee should assist the Issuing Authority and its designee(s) so that PEG Programming can be listed on the Licensee’s electronic program guide. The Licensee would not be responsible for such electronic program guide listing(s) absent the timely cooperation of the Issuing Authority and its designee(s). 9. PEG Access Video-On-DemandThere is a cable related community need and interest in PEG Access Video-on-Demand (“VOD”). Over the next ten (10) years much, if not most programming, will be provided “On-Demand”. PEG Access Programming should not and must not be left behind. There are cable systems in the United States which already provide, PEG Access Video-on-Demand, including in Sacramento (Access Sacramento and Comcast); Portland Community Media and MetroEast Community Media (Portland, Oregon metropolitan area); Dubuque, Iowa; Tucson, Arizona (Cox Cable). While MVTV provides VOD on its website, it is important that VOD be available as part of the cable service provided by Comcast Cable. See also Appendix G. Comcast clearly shares the Town’s belief and conviction that VOD is a significant part of the future for video, including that provided through the cable system. Comcast has not only committed itself to being a leader in VOD for commercial programming, but has also recognized the critical importance of local VOD through its “Get Local” program. Rather than PEG Access VOD as a competitor, Comcast should embrace and support PEG Access VOD, as being complimentary and beneficial to its cable service and its subscribers. As mentioned at the license renewal public hearings, people both require and demand that there news, information, and increasingly, programming be available on their schedule. If cable doesn’t provide for that flexibility, viewers will seek these services elsewhere, including, of course, the Internet.A reflection of the importance of PEG Access VOD going forward, and Comcast’s commitment and/or obligation to provide this service, is seen in the January 18, 2011 FCC approval – with conditions and enforceable commitments – for the assignment and transfer of control of the Comcast-NBCU transaction. (Appendix G.) As noted in the press release regarding this approval:The Applicants have also made a number of additional voluntary, many of which the Commission has adopted as conditions to the transaction’s approval. Most of these commitments are geared toward enhancing the public interest as a result of the joint venture. The commitments include: ….• Public, Educational, and Governmental (“PEG”) Programming. Comcast will safeguard the continued accessibility and signal quality of PEG channels on its cable television systems and introduce new on demand and online platforms for PEG content. [Emphasis added.] As stated, in pertinent part, by Comcast (David L. Cohen, Executive Vice President, in Public Policy) in its January 18, 2011, posting on its “Comcast Voices” website (Appendix G.): Below are some of the key commitments we agreed to implement after the close of this transaction. You can expect to see additional announcements in the weeks and months ahead as we follow through on these commitments. Committed to Serving the Public InterestIn connection with Comcast’s acquisition of NBC Universal, we have announced a number of public interest benefits and commitments that will allow us to better meet the entertainment, communications, and information needs of American consumers. These benefits and commitments represent part of the business plan for the joint venture and expand on the existing strengths of Comcast and NBC Universal, and the new opportunities this combination makes possible. We have also made commitments and agreed to conditions as part of the transaction that seek to treat competitors fairly. We believe these commitments do not impair the competitive positioning of any of the Comcast or NBC Universal businesses, and will not interfere with our ability to operate this business combination as originally planned.Expanding Program Choices and Access to News, Information, and EntertainmentInnovative Public, Educational, and Governmental (PEG) Delivery: Comcast is committed to providing support for PEG access programming, and has pledged not to migrate PEG channels to digital delivery on any Comcast cable system until the system has converted to all-digital distribution or until a community otherwise agrees to digital PEG channels, whichever comes first. To enhance localism and strengthen educational and governmental access programming, Comcast will also develop a platform to host PEG content On Demand and online within three years of closing, and is beginning its work with local pilot communities on this exciting new model. [Emphasis added.]The Licensee shall provide the Issuing Authority and/or its designee(s) with PEG Access Server capacity for Video Programming that may be accessed by Subscribers, at no cost for such selection, through use of standard digital equipment compatible with the Cable System using the Grantee’s “on demand” capabilities. The PEG Access Programming shall be as accessible as commercial Programming to Subscribers on all relevant parameters, including menu access, but not including storage capacity. The Licensee shall provide storage capacity of up to forty (40) hours of on-demand PEG Access Programming at any given time. The Licensee shall provide the Town and/or its designees the means for conveniently and timely programming the Licensee’s servers from the PEG Access studio either directly or through the Licensee’s personnel or agents. The Issuing Authority and/or its designee(s) shall manage what specific Access Programming is loaded in the allocated storage capacity. The Issuing Authority and the Licensee may by mutual agreement arrange for additional capacity on terms to be determined at the time of such agreement. See Appendix G.10. Financial Statement Required To Be Filed With PEG Access Support PaymentsThe Licensee must filed with its PEG Access support payments, a statement by a duly authorized financial representative of the Licensee, documenting, in reasonable detail, the total Gross Annual Revenue as defined in Renewal License. This requirement must be included in the License. It is particularly important at this time, because of the significantly increased “bundling” of cable service with internet and telephone service. The report must state the number of subscribers for the quarter, which may be the number of subscribers on the final day of the quarter. All of the information required herein is necessary to assure accountability and in order to allow the Issuing Authority to properly account for and manage the License and payments to the Town, and is of the upmost importance to the Town.11. No Restrictions On PEG Access Programming Being Provided To Another Cable LicenseeThere shall be no restriction, in the renewal license or elsewhere, regarding PEG Access Programming being provided by or through the Town or its access provider to another cable operator license by the Town which otherwise pays franchise fees and/or PEG Access funding to the Town and/or its access provider.12. New Bedford Public Access ProgrammingThere is an interest in having access to New Bedford Public Access Programming on the Public Access Channel that serves the Town and the Island (Channel 13), if its can be accomplished in a reasonably cost effective manner. Comcast must therefore outline the steps it needs to take, and the cost thereof, to allow for New Bedford Public Access Programming to be brought to and switched on to Channel 13 at the Access studio on Martha’s Vineyard. ASCERTAINMENT DOCUMENTS REGARDING PEG ACCESS• Appendix A – Public Hearings Regarding the Renewal of Cable Television License of Comcast of Connecticut/ Georgia/ Massachusetts/ New Hampshire/ New York/ North Carolina/ Virginia/ Vermont, LLC, held on December 8, 2010 – Transcripts (DVDs of the hearings are also enclosed herewith.)• Participants Lists for the December 8th Public HearingsMARTHA’S VINEYARD PUBLIC HEARING3:30 PM, DECEMBER 8TH AT WEST TISBURY SCHOOLPARTICIPANTS LISTNAME TOWN ORGANIZATION1. Kathy Logue West Tisbury Town Treasurer2. Denys Wortman Tisbury MVTV, Board Chair3. Julienne Turner Edgartown ED, MVTV4. David Crawford Edgartown West Tisbury School5. Dan Rossi West Tisbury Police Chief6. Donna Lowell-Bettencourt Edgartown Principal, W. Tisbury School7. Jack Shea Oak Bluffs MV Times8. Geoffrey Parkhurst Chilmark MVTVMARTHA’S VINEYARD PUBLIC HEARING7 PM, DECEMBER 8TH AT CHILMARK TOWN HALLPARTICIPANTS LISTNAME TOWN ORGANIZATION1. Norman Stickney Edgartown IBEW 23222. Celeste Stickney Edgartown IBEW 23223. Tad Crawford West Tisbury Resident4. Gail Tipton West Tisbury MVTV Producer5. Beth Kramer West Tisbury Director, W. Tisbury Library6. Warren Doty Chilmark Board of Selectman7. Jonathan Revere West Tisbury MVTV8. Geoffrey Parkhurst Chilmark MVTV9. Frank Fenner Chilmark Board of Selectman10. David Norton Chilmark Fire Chief11. Eric Bates West Tisbury Resident• Appendix B – PEG Access Letters of Support. Government AccessJennifer Rand, Town Administrator/Chair-Cable Negotiating CommitteeTara J. Whiting, Town ClerkBeth Kramer, West Tisbury Free Public Library, DirectorDaniel R. Rossi, Police ChiefPeggy Stone, West Tisbury Parks and Recreation, Board AdministratorSimone DeSorcy, Planning Board AdministratorMaria McFarland, Conservation Commission, Board AdministratorJulie Keefe, Zoning Board of Appeals, Board Administrator for the Zoning Board of Appeals Ernest P. Mendenhall, Inspector of Buildings Bruce K. Stone, Town Accountant John J. Powers, Agent, Board of Health John Christensen, Emergency Management Director Katherine Logue, Treasurer Brent B. Taylor, Tax Collector Kristina West, Principal Assessor Katherine Logue and Bruce K. Stone, Information Technology Co-ChairsEducational AccessPublic School Officials and Staff• Appendix C – Government Access Forum, November 16, 2011 – Minutes. • Appendix D – Community Needs and Assessment and Recommendations Regarding Community Cable-Related Needs and Interests For The Martha’s Vineyard Community Television (MVTV), January 11, 2011, prepared by The Buske Group, Sacramento, CA.• Appendix E – Martha’s Vineyard Community Television, Inc., Proposal for Future Funding and Service, Submitted January 11, 2011 for entry into the Martha’s Vineyard License Renewal Ascertainment Record.• Appendix F – Cable Television Survey: Martha’s Vineyard Towns, prepared by Center for Policy Analysis, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, January 2011. • Appendix G – PEG Access Video-on-Demand- FCC Press Release, January 18, 2011 “FCC Grants Approval of Comcast-NBCU Transaction” – Comcast Voices (Website posting), January 18, 2011 by David L. Cohen, Executive Vice President, in Public Policy) in its January 19, 2011. – FCC’s Memorandum and Order, January 20, 2011 Release Date, In the Matter of [:] Application of Comcast Corporation General Electric Company and NBC Universal, Inc.[-] For Consent to Assign Licenses and Transfer Control of Licensees.- “Comcast forms unit to create local VOD content” from CED Magazine, July 10, 2007.Comcast forms unit to create local VOD contentBy Brian SantoCedMagazine.com – July 10, 2007 Comcast Cable’s Eastern Division has formed a local video-on-demand (LVOD) team that’s been given the responsibility of developing exclusive, local and original content for its 5.4 million customers in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia.Comcast’s plan is to expand its “Get Local” category of On Demand content by more than 200 percent over the next two years, growing to approximately 20,000 unique programs.The new LVOD team will be led by 25-year industry veteran and Eastern Division Vice President of Programming Michael Ortman, with day-to-day operations managed by Noah Kodeck in the new position of director of local video-on-demand programming and production.Both have experience with the development and distribution of VOD content. Between them, they have been involved with the following features: Candidates On Demand, Fugitive Files, Scholarships On Demand, Troop Greetings, Pet Adoptions, and “hyper-local” offerings ranging from the Philadelphia Asian Festival to a New Jersey St. Patrick’s Day parade, the D.C. Cherry Blossom Festival, Annapolis Polar Bear Plunge for charity, instructional videos for new voting booths, local spelling bees and more.With the majority of customers now Digital Cable users, On Demand has become a tremendous competitive differentiator, and VOD users are the company’s most satisfied and loyal customers, the company said. In the past year, “Get Local” orders have increased by 41 percent, with consumers watching more than 800,000 local programs a month. The Division experienced more than five million LVOD orders through the first half of 2007, and is well on pace to more than double its LVOD views from a year ago.”The success and growth of LVOD made it the optimal time to establish a group dedicated to identifying and delivering this unique content and taking local to the next level,” said Michael Doyle, president, Comcast Cable Eastern Division and founder, CN8, The Comcast Network. “We offer ‘Get Local’ content for many reasons, but most significantly, it is just the right thing to do — it has unlimited potential to put a face on Comcast and provide our customers with the information and entertainment they want, whenever and however they want it — and it is something that competitors simply cannot match in breadth or depth.”- Cable Franchise Agreement Town of Dubuque, Iowa and MCC Iowa, LLC (Mediacom) – Article/Section 6, including Section 6(a).(5) Upon the conversion of the entire Cable system to digital transmission or December 31, 2006, whichever occurs first, the Grantee shall provide the Town with PEG capacity for video programming that may be accessed by Subscribers through use of standard digital equipment compatible with the Grantee’s Cable System using the Grantee’s “on demand” capabilities. The grantee shall provide storage capacity of up to twenty hours of on-demand PEG programming at any given time. The Town and the Grantee may by mutual agreement arrange for additional capacity on terms to be determined at the time of agreement. If the Town wishes to store additional programming on its own servers or facilities, the Grantee shall cooperate with the Town in making such additional programming available through the same on-demand methods. Within thirty days after providing such capability, the Grantee shall provide the Town with an encoder that may be used to digitize PEG programming for use in this on-demand arrangement. Looking for Love (or a Date) on Cable TV, Wall Street Journal, December 15, 2005. – Once Given Up For Dead, Comcast Defies Its Orbit, New York Times, January 21, 2007. (“To keep the video layer competitive, Comcast has aggressively pursued video-on-demand , seeking to use free videos to entice customers to pay for more expansive digital video packages.) $ Community Needs and Assessment and Recommendations Regarding Community Cable-Related Needs and Interests For The Martha’s Vineyard Community Television (MVTV), January 11, 2011, prepared by The Buske Group, Sacramento, CA. (Appendix D.)$ Cable Television Survey: Martha’s Vineyard Towns, prepared by Center for Policy Analysis, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, January 2011. (Appendix F.) • Appendix H – Digital Conversion and PEG Access – FCC Press Release, January 18, 2011 “FCC Grants Approval of Comcast-NBCU Transaction”- Comcast Voices (Website posting), January 18, 2011 by David L. Cohen, Executive Vice President, in Public Policy) in its January 19, 2011. – FCC’s Memorandum and Order, January 20, 2011 Release Date, In the Matter of [:] Application of Comcast Corporation General Electric Company and NBC Universal, Inc.[-] For Consent to Assign Licenses and Transfer Control of Licensees.- King County, Washington, Amendment No. 2 to Franchise Agreement No. 12131 with Comcast of Washington IV, Inc., dated February 8, 2005. – Letter from Michigan Chapter of NATOA to Comcast Michigan Region, November, 2007 – “Comcast Announcement to Move PEG Channels to Digital Tier. – Town of Dearborn, et al. v. Comcast of Michigan III, Inc. et al., United States District Court Eastern District of Massachusetts Southern Division, Case No. 08-10156, Order, October 3, 2008.• Appendix I – PEG Access Origination/Video Return/Municipal Area Network-I-Net Substitute- MVCT Video Origination Site Cable System Quality Assurance Testing, BROADLink Technology Solutions, LLC (Greg Hall).- Comm-Tract Corp., Bryan Hopkins, Report on Fiber Optic Municipal Area Network, January 2011.- Letters from Jennifer Rand, Town Administrator/Chair – Cable Negotiating Committee.- Letter from Katherine Logue and Bruce K. Stone, Information Technology Co-Chairs.- Letter from Beth Kramer, Library Director.$ Community Needs and Assessment and Recommendations Regarding Community Cable-Related Needs and Interests For The Martha’s Vineyard Community Television (MVTV), January 11, 2011, prepared by The Buske Group, Sacramento, CA. (Appendix D.)• Appendix J – Additional PEG Access References and Documents – Testimony of Brian Roberts, President and Chief Executive officer of Comcast Corporation, United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Wednesday, May 12, 2003 – - “Mr. Roberts: Well, first of all, we do have local franchise fees, so there are taxes at stake in this debate as well, because a cable operator gives 5 percent of their revenue to the local municipality, depending on how you define what the service is.” – Comcast Chief Hints At Plan To Compete, Boston Globe, October 7, 2005 (Not an Appendix): WALTHAM Comcast Corp.’s future in the cable business depends on offering more content to its subscribers, in many cases for free, the company’s chief executive, Brian Roberts, said in a speech here yesterday. Addressing a gathering of local telecommunications executives and investors, Roberts said his company intends to add hundreds more movies, video clips, and other free content to its OnDemand service in the coming year, stressing that he wanted to “build value” for subscribers, rather than compete for business on price. His comments, before the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Network Communications Council, signal Comcast’s strategy for competing with Verizon Communications Inc., the telephone and broadband company that has staked much of its future growth on an aggressive push into the pay TV market. Verizon launched the service with a $39.95 per month expanded basic package in Keller, Texas, two weeks ago, about $10 below Comcast’s comparable digital tier. We want to give a great add value to customers. When Hyundai cuts its price, it doesn’t make BMW customers switch,” Roberts said in one of many swipes he took at Verizon before and after his speech. Verizon debuted its new television service that runs over fiber-optic cables in Keller, a Houston suburb, on Sept. 22. Last week, the company won permission to roll out the service in Woburn, the first such franchise it has won in New England. Like cable, Verizon pipes its TV service into customers’ homes via underground lines, though it uses a high-speed fiber-optic network, dubbed FiOS, that it also uses to provide high-speed Internet service. The company’s expanded basic package includes 180 digital TV and music channels, plus access to 600 video-on-demand movies. Verizon says that will be expanded to 1,800 by year-end. Comcast offers Massachusetts customers a digital cable package that includes 150 TV channels, about 40 music channels, and includes video-on-demand for $50 monthly. It sells a bundle of cable, Internet, and telephone service for $99 monthly. Still, Verizon spokesman Eric Rabe said his company is not out to force a price war with cable companies. “That’s not a matter of undercutting anybody, but having competition prevents a monopoly from doing whatever it wants to do,” Rabe said. He said FiOS TV could debut in Woburn by early next year. Analysts noted that Roberts has long resisted price competition, evidenced by the company’s investment of tens of billions of dollars to upgrade its network and offering products like On Demand, high-speed Internet, and phone service, for which it can charge premium rates. Comcast also plans on continually increasing the speed of its Internet service. Right now the company offers a choice of six or eight megabytes per second, but that could reach up to 100 megabytes per second on Comcast’s existing network, Roberts said. Yet some industry watchers said Comcast could still be forced to cut cable rates, at least temporarily. With its fiber network, Verizon is able to offer the same “triple play” bundle of phone, TV, and broadband service as Comcast, something previous competitors haven’t been able to match, said Adi Kishore, director of the media practice at Boston research firm the Yankee Group. “I think it’s shaping up to be a good battle,” he said. If Verizon gains enough subscribers in Comcast markets, the incumbent cable company might start offering promotional deals, he said. “They’ll say `OK, for two months if you sign on for cable modem service from Comcast, we’ll give it to you for $15.’ After two months you bump the price up again and it’s a $45 product.” B. Cable Service Must Be Made Available to all Residents and Businesses – Cable Service must be made be available to all West Tisbury residences regardless of their location or the density of the area (subject to lawful access on the way). There is no more important issue to the Town than the availability of cable service, including, but not limited to PEG Access programming, to all West Tisbury residents. – The Licensee methodology, as expressed in its Proposal and the proposed Renewal License, to provide Cable Service, may include a listing of specific ways in the Town that will, under a new Renewal License, have Cable Service made available. – If the Licensee does not propose to make cable service available to all residents, but rather seeks to apply a density requirement or otherwise not include certain ways and/or dwelling units, the Licensee must set out in its Proposal all of the specific financial reasons for doing so, including, but not limited to the specific financial reasons for selecting the specific density requirement. Additionally, the Licensee must state how the location and the number of additional dwelling units that will have Cable Service available under the new density requirement. – If the Licensee does not propose to make cable service available to all residents, but rather seeks to apply a density requirement, the Licensee’s failure to do so will be further evaluated, consistent with the general standards of review setout in the Cable Act, based on a number of considerations, including the favorability of the following: (i) the density number being lower than the current density number included in the current Renewal License; (ii) in the event the Licensee proposes a different density number for areas/dwelling units served by underground utilities, rather than aerial utilities, the density number for the underground area/dwelling units where the Licensee is not responsible for installing the underground conduit, should be no higher than the density number for areas/dwelling units served by above ground utilities; (iv) the full inclusion of seasonal residents in the density calculation; and (v) the inclusion of a “line extension policy and procedures” no less favorable to residents than the provision included in Sections 4.2 and 4.3 of the current Renewal License. Nothing in this subsection should be interpreted in any way as encouraging, approving or accepting, consistent with the standards set-out in the Cable Act, the availability of cable service to less than all residents of the Town (subject to lawful access on the way). – There is a community need and interest in having the extension/build-out of the Cable System resulting from the new License provision, completed within a reasonable period of time, not to exceed two (2) years from the Effective Date of a new Renewal License. – Cable services must be made available to all commercial establishments, provided the business agrees to pay for reasonable installation costs, and any monthly subscription costs eastablished by the Licensee.$ Appendix K – Ascertainment Documents Regarding Service To All Residents – Letters from Town Officials and Public – Jennifer Rand, Town Administrator/Chair – Cable Negotiating Committee – John Christensen, Emergency Management Director – Seven Gates Farm Corporation, Charles H. Silberstein, President$ Public Hearings Regarding the Renewal of Cable Television License of Comcast of Connecticut/ Georgia/ Massachusetts/ New Hampshire/ New York/ North Carolina/ Virginia/ Vermont, LLC, held on December 8, 2010. (Appendix A.)$ Community Needs and Assessment and Recommendations Regarding Community Cable-Related Needs and Interests For The Martha’s Vineyard Community Television (MVTV), January 11, 2011, prepared by The Buske Group, Sacramento, CA. (Appendix D.)$ Cable Television Survey: Martha’s Vineyard Towns, prepared by Center for Policy Analysis, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, January 2011. (Appendix F.) Note – For “Standard Installation Rate for Drop” – See Section 11 of the Renewal License Provisions (Appendix U.)C. Local Emergency Alert Summary of Cable-Related Community Needs and Interests Regarding A Local Emergency Alert – There is a need and interest in again having a useable emergency alert capability that allows the Town to remotely and securely to override the audio and video portion of all cable channels in the event of an emergency. This emergency override system should permit the Town to send out local emergency alerts unique to the Town and/or Martha’s Vineyard, while continuing to allow participation in the national emergency alert system. – Federal law and regulations establish regional and national emergency alert requirements for cable systems. However, these requirements do not provide adequately for local emergency alerts. The FCC allows these requirements to be established through a cable franchise/license. – The Licensee shall in its proposal, include specifications for a Local Emergency Alert, including an estimate of cost, regardless of its position on the inclusion of a Local Emergency Alert in the Renewal License. – The Licensee’s proposal shall specify the testing procedures for all Emergency Alert systems as well as its proposal for providing training and coordinating with relevant Town officials with respect to the use of the Emergency Alert systems. – As noted by a leading cable attorney who represents municipalities and municipal organizations nationally (John Pestle of Varnum, Riddering, Schmidt, Howlett LLP): [T]he Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has rejected a request by broadcasters to preempt cable franchise provisions that require cable systems to carry local emergency announcements. The FCC’s decision referred favorably to the comments filed by the National League of Cities and municipalities and municipal organizations in seven states. Ascertainment Documents Regarding A Local Emergency Alert• Appendix L – Letters from Town Officials and Department Heads.- Jennifer Rand, Town Administrator/Chair – Cable Negotiating Committee• Public Hearings Regarding the Renewal of Cable Television License of Comcast of Connecticut/ Georgia/ Massachusetts/ New Hampshire/ New York/ North Carolina/ Virginia/ Vermont, LLC, held on December 7-8, 2010. (Appendix A.)• Cable Television Survey: Martha’s Vineyard Towns, prepared by Center for Policy Analysis, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, January 2011. (Appendix F.) • Additional Emergency Alert Ascertainment Information and Documents – Incorporated By Reference (Available upon request.) – Memorandum by John Pestle of Varnum, Riddering, Schmidt, Howlett LLP, from the Municipal Research & Services Center of Washington; – Comments of Municipalities and Municipal Organizations Consisting Of National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisers, et al., dated October 29, 2004, before the Federal Communications Commission, In the Matter of Review of Emergency Alert System, EB Docket No. 04-296; – Reply Comments of Municipalities and Municipal Organizations Consisting Of National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisers, et al., dated November 29, 2004, before the Federal Communications Commission, In the Matter of Review of Emergency Alert System, EB Docket No. 04-296; – FCC 98-329 In the Matter of Amendment of Part 73, Subpart G, of the Commissions Rules Regarding the Emergency Broadcast System. FO Docket 91-301 and FO Docket 91-171: Third Report and Order; – FCC 97-338 In the Matter of Amendment of Part 73, Subpart G, of the Commissions Rules Regarding the Emergency Broadcast System, FO Docket 91-301 and FO Docket 91-171: Second Report and Order; – FCC 95-420 In the Matter of Amendment of Part 73, Subpart G, of the Commissions Rules Regarding the Emergency Broadcast System. FO Docket 91-301 and FO Docket 91-171: Memorandum Opinion and Order; – FCC 94-288 In the Matter of Amendment of Part 73, Subpart G, of the Commissions Rules Regarding the Emergency Broadcast System. FO Docket 91-301 and FO Docket 91-171: Report and Order Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making; – “Police take to the air” [City of Natick], MetroWest Daily News, May 4, 2004;• Community Needs and Assessment and Recommendations Regarding Community Cable-Related Needs and Interests For The Martha’s Vineyard Community Television (MVTV), January 11, 2011, prepared by The Buske Group, Sacramento, CA. (Appendix D.)$ Cable Television Survey: Martha’s Vineyard Towns, prepared by Center for Policy Analysis, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, January 2011. (Appendix F.) D. Free Cable Service to Public Buildings and School Buildings – Standard Service, Including Basic and Expanded Basic ServiceThe Licensee must continue to provide all cable service, except for any Pay Cable and/or Pay-Per-View” Programming, (i.e. basic and expanded cable service, sometimes referred to as “standard service”) to the public buildings and school buildings, including all future Town buildings and public schools, at no cost to the Town or schools. This service is currently provided to the Town by the Licensee and required under the current cable license granted by the Town and currently held by Comcast of Comcast of Connecticut/ Georgia/ Massachusetts/ New Hampshire/ New York/ North Carolina/ Virginia/ Vermont, LLC. (Sections 6.7 and 6.8 of the current License.) In addition to the valuable information and viewing experience provided on expanded basic channels, many of the channels provided on that service tier are extremely important in emergency situations, including weather disasters and matters which may involve homeland security (i.e. the Weather Channel, CNN, etc.). If additional equipment, such as a converter, is required to obtain Standard Service, the Licensee shall provide said equipment, at no cost to the Town. The Licensee must continue to maintain, repair and replace all cable outlets and drops to all occupied Town (including School) buildings. All new Town buildings must receive a cable drop and outlet, as well as Standard Service. There is also a community need and interest for the provision of Standard Cable Service by the Licensee to publicly-owned senior housing. (Publicly-owned senior housing is located only in the Towns of Oak Bluffs and Tisburay.)$ Appendix M – Ascertainment Documents Regarding Free Cable Service to Municipal and School Buildings – Including Expanded Basic Service from the Town of Tisbury – Letters from Town/School Officials and Department Heads. – Jennifer Rand, Town Administrator/Chair – Cable Negotiating Committee – Public School Officials. • Public Hearings Regarding the Renewal of Cable Television License of Comcast of Connecticut/ Georgia/ Massachusetts/ New Hampshire/ New York/ North Carolina/ Virginia/ Vermont, LLC, held on December 7-8, 2010. (Appendix A.) Additionally – Free Internet Services To Schools and LibrariesThe current cable license provides that the Licensee shall provide free Internet/Cable Modem service(s) to each School Department and Library Building in Town, including one (1) free cable modem outlet to each such building. (Section 6.9 of current Renewal License) Comcast currently provides such Internet/Cable Modem service(s) to the Town. Does Comcast proposed to continue said free Internet/Cable Modem service(s)/cable modem outlet to the Town? If so, how will the Licensee guarantee and document said commitment to the Town. (Note – this matter shall not be a basis upon which the Town determines whether or not Comcast will be granted a cable license renewal or otherwise issued a preliminary denial thereof.) E. IndemnificationThe Licensee shall fully and completely indemnify, hold harmless and defend the Town, its officials, employees and agents from and against any liability, damages and costs, whatsoever, including reasonable legal fees. Said indemnification provision should not include an unreasonable notice provision. Timely notice, rather than an artificial time requirement, must be adequate. • Appendix N – Ascertainment Documents Regarding Indemnification By Comcast. Letter from Michael E. Cusack, Vice President, Claim Operations, Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Association (“MIIA”). The Licensee should be aware that the Town may not under Massachusetts law indemnify a third party. (Based on the conclusions of the Division of Local Services of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue.) As such, the Licensee should not propose that the Town indemnify the Licensee for any reason. F. Recomputation/Audits No minimally acceptable cable license would lack a provision for audit and recomputation. The License must include an audit and recomputation provision that fully protects the Town and its residents. The audit and recomputation must provide a reasonable process for auditing the License payment in the event it is necessary. There should not and must not be an unreasonable limitation on the “look back” period on audits. The applicable statute of limitations under Massachusetts law on a contract action is six (6) years. Any license limitation of less than three (3) years is unreasonable, harmful to the public interest, and self serving for Comcast. Ascertainment Documents Regarding Recomputation and Audits • Appendix O – Letters and News Articles. – Letter from Scott Lewis, CPA, Lewis and Associates, through Action Audits, LLC, regarding limitations on municipal right to review payments from cable operators. – Article from the Indianapolis Star (on Indystar.com), dated March 15, 2004, and titled “Comcast makes good on underpaid fees”. – Article from Multichannel News, dated April 26, 2004, entitled “Cities: Auditing for Dollars Makes Sense”. – Medway: Comcast owes us $135K. (Including Department of Telecommunications and Cable’s, Rate Order of November 17, 2008.) G. Strand Maps, Including Electronic Maps The Licensee shall maintain a complete set of strand maps of the Cable System plant, and shall provide a copy of all strand maps to the Public Works Department. In addition to paper strand maps, said maps shall also be provided to the Town in electronic format. The Licensee shall not be required to provide a particular type of electronic format which is different from the electronic format the Licensee maintains as long as the electronic format is in a source format commonly used in the industry, non-proprietary, and capable of being imported into municipal geographical information systems (GIS). If changes are made in the Cable System, the Licensee shall file an updated map(s), including in electronic format as provided for herein, within thirty (30) days. See Public Hearing Regarding the Renewal of Cable Television License of Comcast of Connecticut/ Georgia/ Massachusetts/ New Hampshire/ New York/ North Carolina/ Virginia/ Vermont, LLC, held on December 7-8, 2010. Ascertainment Documents Regarding Electronic Maps • Appendix P – Letters from Town Officials and Department Heads. – Letter from Jennifer Rand, Town Administrator/Chair-Cable Negotiating Committee.H. Compliance with Applicable Law The Renewal License must require that the Licensee comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws, bylaws and regulations. The Licensee should not, and must not, propose that it need only comply with “lawful” laws, bylaws and regulations. It is well established in law that laws, bylaws and regulations are entitled to a presumption of validity, but subject to challenge in a court of law. This is fundamental to the rule of law and the working of government. The Licensee may not by the terms of a renewal license avoid compliance with applicable law, bylaws and regulations solely on the basis that it, the Licensee, deems a law, bylaw and/or regulation to be unlawful. Ascertainment Documents Regarding Compliance with Applicable Law • Appendix Q – Letter from Thomas Mullen, municipal attorney. I. FCC Regulatory Fee The FCC Regulatory Fee is not a “franchise fee” as defined by federal law (47 U.S.C. 542 – “(1) the term “franchise fee” includes any tax, fee, or assessment of any kind imposed by a franchising authority or other government entity on a cable operator or cable subscriber, or both, solely because of their status as such”). The FCC fee is a regulatory fee, and as such a cost of doing business for a cable operator. The Renewal License must be clear that the FCC regulatory fee will not count toward the five percent (5%) limit on franchise fees, unless and until said FCC regulatory fee is determined to be a franchise fee by the FCC or a court of competent jurisdiction.Ascertainment Documents Regarding The FCC Regulatory Fee • Appendix R – Ascertainment References and Documents Regarding The FCC Regulatory Fee. – “In the Matter of Proper Treatment of FCC Regulatory Fees Under 47 U.S.C. §542(g)”- (Reference only – not an Appendix.)- Petition for Declaratory Ruling In the Matter of Proper Treatment of FCC Regulatory Fees Under 47 U.S.C. 542(g) by NATOA, April 22, 2004.- FCC Public Notice, Media Bureau Action – Franchise Fee Petition for Declaratory Ruling Filed With the Commission – CSR 6324, April 30, 2004. – Comments of Town of New York and Town of Eugene Oregon, “In the Matter of Proper Treatment of FCC Regulatory Fees Under 47 U.S.C. §542(g)”, June 1, 2004. J. Reports, Records and InformationThere is a community need and interest for the Licensee to provide the Town with all reports, records, documents and information needed by the Town to monitor, enforce and insure full compliance with the Renewal License. The Licensee must be required by the terms of the Renewal License to provide to the Town all reports either required to be provided under applicable law or regulation or otherwise relevant to the Licensee’s cable system or cable service in the Town of West Tisbury as a matter of course, without requiring a written requested by or on behalf of the Town. The Licensee must provide all required reports to the Issuing Authority on its own violation and without requiring a request, written or oral, from the Town. Parties licensed by the Town have an obligation to provide such reports without the need of the Town to know the day to day status of the licensed party’s reports. It is their business, not ours. Any proposal by the Licensee to restrict the Town’s right to reports, records or information relevant to the Town’s role as Issuing Authority or under the License based on such reports, records or information being “proprietary” will be deemed unreasonable unless limited to those instances where the Town Counsel (attorney) of the Town concurs or to those instances where there is a specific law, regulation or court order which provides as such.Ascertainment Documents Regarding Reports, Records and Information • Appendix S – Letter from Jennifer Rand, Town Administrator/Chair-Cable Negotiating Committee.K. License ComplianceIt is important that a Cable License granted to the Licensee provide that any procedural protection granted to the Licensee not be worded in a manner as to deny the Town and its residents a reasonably expeditious and determinative license enforcement process. While it is important that the Licensee be provided due process with respect to alleged license violations and beaches, the Town cannot support a license provision or a default process in which the Licensee: (i) is granted more than a reasonably expeditious period of time for license compliance; (ii) can unilaterally continue or extend the time for final compliance with the License on the basis that the breach can not be remedied immediately; (iii) is granted a new time clock every time a subsequent violation or the same or similar breach occurs; or (iv) is not held fully accountable for its default on the basis of the Town not completing its review or making a determination within a pre-determined period of time or date certain.Appendix T – Letter from Jennifer Rand, Town Administrator/Chair-Cable Negotiating Committee.L. Customer Service OfficeThere is a strong need and interest in continue having a full service cable customer service office at a convenient location on Martha’s Vineyard, where subscribers can pick-up and return equipment and pay bills. It would be unreasonable and unacceptable to require residents of the Town (or other Martha’s Vineyard Towns) to go off-Island to go to and be served by a customer service office. Ascertainment Documents Regarding The Customer Service Office $ Public Hearings Regarding the Renewal of Cable Television License of Comcast of Connecticut/ Georgia/ Massachusetts/ New Hampshire/ New York/ North Carolina/ Virginia/ Vermont, LLC, held on December 8, 2010. (Appendix A.)$ Community Needs and Assessment and Recommendations Regarding Community Cable-Related Needs and Interests For The Martha’s Vineyard Community Television (MVTV), January 11, 2011, prepared by The Buske Group, Sacramento, CA. (Appendix D.)$ Cable Television Survey: Martha’s Vineyard Towns, prepared by Center for Policy Analysis, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, January 2011. (Appendix F.) M. Additional Cable-Related Community Needs and Interests The Town makes the following further comments regarding community needs and interests, some of which are also addressed in the Proposed Additional Renewal License. Provisions. (Appendix U.). (As noted above, the future cable-related needs and interests expressed in the ascertainment documents also an integral part of the Town’s ascertainment and record, and this RFP.) • The Town should incur no cost as a result of the use of the rights-of-way by the Licensee. The Licensee should use the rights of way in a manner that minimizes the risk of damage and undue interference with the beneficial use and enjoyment of public and private property. The Licensee’s use is secondary and no property rights or any other implied rights are being granted. Right-of-way use should be subject to conditions that ensure that Town policy (e.g. undergrounding of utilities and facilities) can be satisfied. • The Licensee must be obligated to restore any real or personal property damaged by the Licensee to the same condition that it was in prior to the damage as soon as practicable, and to fully compensate the damaged party. This must also include private parties so damaged. The License must provide that “[w]henever [the License] takes up or disturbs any pavement, sidewalk or other improvement of any public way or public place, the same shall be replaced and the surface restored in as good condition as before entry as soon as practicable. If the Licensee fails to make such restoration within a reasonable period of time for such restoration and repairs the Issuing Authority may fix a reasonable time for such restoration and repairs and shall notify the licensee in writing of the restoration and repairs required and the time fixed for performance thereof. Upon failure of the Licensee to comply within the time specified, the Issuing Authority may cause proper restoration and repairs to be made and the expense of such work shall be paid by the Licensee upon demand by the Issuing Authority.” The License should provide that the Licensee is obligated to “protect, support, temporarily disconnect, relocate or remove etc. its property in the public way “as required by the Issuing Authority or its designee by reason of traffic conditions, public safety, street construction, change or establishment of street grade, or the construction of any public improvement or structure by any Town department acting in a government capacity”, without any qualifying conditions with respect to other entities, particularly those not directly regulated by the Town. The Licensee should not have the right to seek reimbursement from the Town’s insurance program for costs incurred in cases of fire or disaster where the Town was required to cut or move wires, cable or equipment of the Cable Television System. The Licensee should provide status reports for construction projects that last longer than thirty (30) days. • The License should require that the Licensee underground its cable system upon reasonable written notice by the Issuing Authority, without cost to the Town, if other infrastructure on the public way or public property is being undergrounded. It is unreasonable for the Licensee to attempt to avoid, restrict or diminish the Town’s public safety, public way and/or public works requirements by attempting to limit its responsibilities based on the Town’s ability and/or determination to regulate or impose restrictions on other parties that use the public right-of-way or other public property, including, but not limited to, public utilities, the Town itself or individuals. • The License should clearly set out that the Licensee must comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws, bylaws and regulations. This is an extremely important license provision. • Equal Employment Opportunities/Non-Discrimination/Worker’s Rights(i) Equal Employment Opportunity – The Licensee shall comply with all applicable State and federal laws and/or regulations regarding Equal Employment Opportunity; (ii) Non-Discrimination – The Licensee shall adhere to all federal and State laws prohibiting discrimination in employment practices; and(iii) Workers’ Rights – The Licensee shall comply with the National Labor Relations Act; all applicable State and federal Wage and Hour laws. The Licensee shall encourage a healthy relationship with its employees by respecting their right to organize and to bargain collectively with their employer, and to engage in other protected, concerted activities to improve their wages and working conditions. The Equal Employment Opportunity and Non-Discrimination provisions reflect the employment provisions in the current Renewal License. The “Workers’ Rights” provision is a new addition, initially suggested by employee and/or labor representative(s) at the public hearing(s). If the Licensee objects to the inclusion of the Worker’s Rights provision in a new renewal license and/or fails to include such a provision in its proposal, the Licensee should state in reasonable detail the basis for its objection and/or determination not to include such a provision. Ascertainment Documents Regarding Worker’s Rights• Appendix A – Public Hearings Regarding the Renewal of Cable Television License of Comcast of Connecticut/ Georgia/ Massachusetts/ New Hampshire/ New York/ North Carolina/ Virginia/ Vermont, LLC, held on December 8, 2010 – Transcripts (DVDs of the hearings are also enclosed herewith.) (See also proposed Equal Employment Opportunities/Non-Discrimination/Worker’s Rights submitted at the evening hearing, incorporated by reference above.)• The Licensee should be subject to clear requirements for demonstrating compliance with its License and all legal requirements, including the provision to the Town of all relevant documents and information. The Town should have the right to perform any test needed to determine such compliance. No documents or information reasonably needed by the Town to determine the Licensee’s compliance with the License and applicable legal requirements should be withheld from the Town. • The Town should have effective tools to monitor, enforce, and ensure full compliance with License, legal and regulatory requirements. • The License should contain a performance bond that adequately reflects the risks placed upon the Town. • Liquidated damage amounts and the performance bond should reflect the monetary damages the Town may face with respect to a failure of the Licensee to meet License and/or legal requirements, and realistically discourage such failures. The performance bond should be in an amount of no less than Two Hundred Thousand Dollars ($200,000) so as to partially protect the financial interest of the Town in the event of license breach, as well as a failure to remove a portion of the Cable System in the event required by circumstances. If the Licensee proposes a performance bond in an amount of less than prescribed herein, the Licensee must include a reasonably completed written explanation for providing such lesser amount. • The License shall include a full and complete “indemnification provision” protecting the financial interest of the Town. The indemnification must not require an unreasonable notice provision (including, but not limited to, a notice requirement of a specific number of days). Such notice need only be timely.There should be no so-called “Level Play Field” provision in the renewal license regarding the grant of additional cable licenses in North Adams. It is anti-competitive. Even more importantly, the License shall contain no such provision with respect to multi-channel video providers who are not licensed as cable operators by the Town. The privacy and privacy rights of subscribers and residents must be fully protected by the License both in policy and in practice, even if there is an administrative burden on the Licensee and/or inconvenience for Subscribers. • If the Licensee proposes a “force majeure” provision, said provision should include the requirement that the Licensee shall make every reasonable effort to comply with the terms and conditions of its Renewal License in the event of an unforeseen event or conditions. Additionally, the License should include the requirement that the Licensee take immediate and diligent steps to comply as soon as possible under the circumstances without endangering the health or safety of persons and to perform to the maximum extent it is able to do so in as expeditious a manner as possible. $ There should be a “severability” provision that provides that in the event that a court, agency or legislature of competent jurisdiction acts or declares that any nonmaterial provision of this Renewal License is unenforceable according to its terms, or is otherwise void, said provision shall be considered a separate, distinct, and independent part of this License, and such holding shall not affect the validity and enforceability of all other provisions hereof. In the event that a court or agency or legislature of competent jurisdiction acts so that any material provision of this Renewal License is unenforceable according to its terms, or is otherwise void, the parties agree to immediately enter into negotiations in good faith and make equitable amendments to restore the relative burdens and benefits of this Renewal License. (See Renewal License provision below.)$ The interpretation of the License must be based on the License itself. While the License may reference the application of law, it must not provide that such laws, particularly those laws enacted after the effective date of the License shall control the interpretation and performance of the Renewal License or that the License is effected by an “inconsistency” with applicable law. Similarly, words, terms, phrases and their derivatives shall have the meaning given in definition section of the License, unless the context clearly requires a different meaning. License words, terms, phrases and their derivatives should not (and shall not) be defined or interpreted based current or future laws or regulations, unless so specified or defined in the License.$ The License shall grant the Licensee the right to operate a “cable system” to provide “cable service” in the Town. The License should not directly or indirectly address the right of the Licensee to provide a non-cable service in the Town, regardless of where located. $ The License should not prohibit or restrict the right of the Town or an access corporation from providing PEG programming to another cable licensee in the Town which also provides the Town with funding for PEG Access.$ The Licensee’s obligations under the Renewal License should and must be guaranteed by the Licensee’s ultimate parent corporation (ultimate corporate parent). This must be specifically stated in Comcast’s Proposal in response to this RFP and in the proposed Renewal License submitted with the Proposal. N. Proposed Additonal Renewal License Provision Future cable-related needs and interests expressed in the proposed Renewal License provisions in Appendix U are also an integral part of the Town’s ascertainment and record. The needs and interests expressed by and through said Additional Renewal License provisions shall be deemed as much a part of the Ascertainment Record and this RFP as if described in the body herein. Conversely, the needs and interests stated in the body of this RFP, and not further listed or described in Appendix U, are no less a part of the Ascertainment Record and this RFP, than if they had been referenced in Appendix U. O. Rate Questions The following questions regarding rate matters were raised during the ascertainment process. While these rate matters will not be a basis upon which the Town determines whether or not Comcast will be granted a cable license renewal or otherwise issued a preliminary denial thereof, they should be fully responded to by Comcast. With respect to the below referenced rate matters, the Licensee must indicate where a consumer or subscriber would be able to find this information: (i) in written materials provide by the Licensee; and (ii) on the Licensee’s web-site. Senior DiscountPlease note that there is a community need and interest for a meaningful senior discount to the Town of West Tisbury’s senior citizens, age 65 and older, at an amount and percentage no less than “ten percent (10%) discount on the Total Basic Service ties [Standard Service or its equivalent] to all senior citizens, age 65 and older, who are heads-of-household in the Town and are Medicaid eligible or on SSI or Massachusetts Fuel Assistance or such other additional qualifying categories_as possible.” However, because the Town anticipates that the senior discount, which is authorized by the Cable Act, but is a voluntary act of the cable operator, will be addressed outside of the Renewal License, further information and documents in support of the senior discount will be provided outside of the license renewal context The Town encourages the provision of a meaningful senior discount, and encourages the Licensee to make such discount available based on a wide ranging list of categories evidencing a basis for qualification. Reasonably Priced Cable-Only Package To Serve Residents, Including Those On A Fixed Income Does Comcast provide a reasonably priced cable-only package to service Town residents, including those on a fixed income? If so please provide details regarding the pricing and programming of said package. Please also indicate whether Comcast offers its “digital economy” TV package in the Town, and the price and programming of said digital economy package. (As noted in a January 9, 2011 article on “Philly.com”, with respect to Comcast lowering the price of its digital economy package in Philadelphia, “Comcast spokeswomen Jennifer Khoury said the $29.95 price for its “digital economy” TV package simplified the cable company’s pricing structure and allowed basic-cable subscribers to more easily upgrade.”) Seasonal Resident Please specifically describe the rate policy and rates for seasonal residents who want to suspend their cable services during the period of their absence from the Island. How many months may cable service be suspended for, and what is the cost for Standard Service during those months. A complaint has been raised that the suspension period is limited to six (6) months and that the cost is Standard Cable service for that period of time is unreasonably high. It is also alleged that this policy and rate is less favorable than that set on the Cape. Ascertainment Documents Regarding Rate Questions• Appendix A – Public Hearings Regarding the Renewal of Cable Television License of Comcast of Connecticut/ Georgia/ Massachusetts/ New Hampshire/ New York/ North Carolina/ Virginia/ Vermont, LLC, held on December 7-8, 2010 – Transcripts (DVDs of the hearings are also enclosed herewith.)• Ascertainment letters.• Community Needs and Assessment and Recommendations Regarding Community Cable-Related Needs and Interests For The Martha’s Vineyard Community Television (MVTV), January 11, 2011, prepared by The Buske Group, Sacramento, CA. (Appendix D.) As described in the CAN: 1. There is a need and interest in ensuring that any cable operator serving Martha’s Vineyard clearly and accurately informs residents about low-cost service options that are available to them. Appropriate and enforceable language (with associated penalties for non-compliance) should be included in any new license agreement to help ensure that a cable operator provides complete and accurate information in its service listings (in all print, web, and other formats), including information about its lowest cost package of services.In addition, any cable operator serving Martha’s Vineyard should be regularly and strongly encouraged to offer an optional, “limited basic” service package that is affordably priced for low income and senior residents, and pricing that is fair to part-time residents who need to turn their service off for certain periods during the year and turn it back on when they return.