Friday, October 18, 2019
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Friday, April 13, 2012
Public Access TV Relegated to Digital Siberia
By News Release @ 1:47 PM :: 5986 Views :: Kauai County, DHHL, Energy, Environment

Cable Access Gets Slammed Time Porner Gets the Land

by Jay April, President and CEO Maui County Community Television, Inc. www.Akaku.org  

There is a new land grab in Hawaii whereby the government is giving away valuable public land to private business without getting anything in return for the people. Sound familiar? It has happened before in Hawaii – with agriculture, with beaches, with water and now, with the public airwaves. This time the difference is that the land in question is in the form of public electronic real estate, the electromagnetic spectrum. These are the frequencies you pay for to watch cable TV, use the internet or talk on the phone.

Most people don’t know this, but in exchange for using public rights of way - airwaves, telephone poles, electric wires and underground conduits - cable monopolies like Oceanic Time Warner have to pay “rent” in the form of community access channels like Olelo on Oahu, Akaku on Maui, Na Leo on Big Island and Hoike on Kauai. Now, because of new technology, the frequencies or space these channels occupy have suddenly become extremely profitable to cable companies. (Not unlike how lands once granted to indigenous people by treaty became more valuable once minerals were discovered.) That is why Time Warner wants to take over this public property and move these channels to inferior locations while vastly reducing the amount of non-commercial electronic real estate. That is why, if you are an Oceanic Time Warner Cable subscriber, channels are disappearing from your channel line-up altogether, or re-appearing someplace else. So far, instead of holding your land in public trust, the state is falling for the Time Warner plan - hook, line and sinker.

Maybe that is not such a bad thing after all. Oceanic says this techy move will free up more space on the cable for them to bring us all kinds of goodies like High Definition (HD) channels, video on demand channels, enhanced services and the holy grail of faster, better and more affordable internet for all. That’s a good thing, right? We all want to believe. We really do. The thing Time Warner forgot to mention was…well…the several new adult services that have recently appeared as a result of moving your access channels to cable no man’s land.

On Wednesday, April 4, the naked truth behind this land grab was revealed at the State of Hawaii Cable Advisory Committee hearing in Oahu. The members, made up of appointees from each county, did not like what they saw. Let’s just call it, Oceanic Time Warner’s dirty little secret.

The meeting started out innocently enough. Director of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) Keali’i Lopez, announced that she was inclined to grant a “waiver” Oceanic Time Warner had requested, to strike the definition of the word “channel” from contracts that govern cable operations on neighbor islands. This little change would allow the cable company to legitimize “after the fact” a contract violation it had already committed months ago, when it moved educational access channels from their current analog location (55 and 56) to an area on the cable dial, commonly referred to as “digital Siberia” (355 and 356)[1]

This action allowed Time Warner to reclaim twelve megahertz (12MHz) of dedicated non-commercial spectrum for unrestricted commercial development.[2] Former two-digit, full service, publicly owned, analog channels disappeared and were replaced by three-digit “digital channels” in hard to find locations. Replacement digital channels represent a tiny fraction - perhaps 10% or less - of their former electronic land value and are viewable only by subscribers who obtain special equipment.

In defense of DCCA Director Lopez, her motivations were perhaps well meaning, even altruistic. Who doesn’t want faster, better, affordable internet? Time Warner broadband speeds on neighbor islands are truly pa-thet-ic. Last time we checked on Maui, they were about 5 megabits down and less than 1 megabit up. Public testimony at the CAC hearing revealed, however, that even though a huge amount of dedicated public spectrum was taken away in December and in January, cable subscribers on Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Big Island and Kauai did not get faster, better, more affordable internet. What they got was a rate hike, a slew of expensive digital channels, and a big fat bunch of additional adult services like Playboy Interactive, Playboy TV on Demand, Penthouse on Demand, Hustler on Demand and Manhandler on Demand.

Putting the Porn Warner switcheroo aside, it was also revealed during public testimony that DCCA has no guarantee or quid pro quo from Time Warner to ensure that any of us will ever get faster, ubiquitous, more affordable broadband. On the contrary, Wall Street analysts at Sanford Bernstein are reporting that Time Warner has recently announced that they will be applying overcharging schemes to broadband customers, charging all customers usage fees to boost revenues and profits. The street predicts that these charges will become the rule and not the exception in the near future.

After these and many other unsavory facts were revealed,[3] several CAC members questioned the character of Oceanic Time Warner, a company that protects all local broadcast channels on analog and repeats them over again on digital; protects Oceanic owned channels such as OC 16 and dozens of non-local channels like QVC, MTV and Shop NBC by keeping them on analog - yet finds it necessary to kick your local Community Access Channels off these more profitable and desirable locations in order to steal the public’s bandwidth.

No one disputes that someday all channels will be digital. How that transition occurs and what happens to public electronic real estate in the process is an important discussion to have with cable subscribers and cable access providers on each island. Before the state gives it all away, we have a right to say how our land will be used.

To its credit, for the time being, the Cable Advisory Committee has taken a stand against the DCCA waiver of the definition of channel pending further review. It remains to be seen which is more obscene – the Time Warner lie itself or the state’s willingness to believe it at the expense of neighbor island Public Access channels and Community Broadband development.


[1] Analog PEG channels 55 and 56 were migrated to digital channels 355 and 356 on Big Island and Kauai in December, 2011 and January, 2012. On Maui, to date, only Analog PEG channel 56 has been migrated to digital channel 356

[2] 6MHz on Maui

3 See testimony of Akaku President, Jay April and Hoike Managing Director, J. Robertson on DCCA Cable Administration website or at www.akaku.org.

LINK: Full Letter and Testimony

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940

ABCDEFG Blog

ACA Signups Hawaii

ACCE

ALEC

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii

AMVETS-Hawaii

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

Conservative Forum for Hawaii

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii

DeedySupport.com

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Families for Educational Choice

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

HIEC.Coop 

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube

HPACC

Hump Day Report

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

Judgepedia Hawaii

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

KeyWiki

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii

NARTH

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Salvage The Rail

Save the Plastic Bag

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Cope

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT