Personal Service Quality Insurance ALICE ANDERSON AGENCY INSURANCE & REAL ESTATE 808A E. 46th, Austin, Texas 459-6577 Happiness Is Printing By ? FUTURA PRESS Phone 512/442-7836 1714 SOUTH CONGRESS P.O. BOX 3485 AUSTIN, TEXAS Newspapers Magazines Political Specialists Signs and Placards Bumperstrips i Office Supplies 0;100% Union Shop IDA PRESS 901 W 24th St Austin Multi copy service. Call 477-3641 Send Someone You Love THE TEXAS NEWSLETTER You won’t find a more original, more thoughtful gift for a son, daughter, brother, sister or good friend. For your displaced Texan, The Texas Newsletter is a welcome breath of home every month. For resident Texans, it’s the fastest, the only way to scan what’s really happening in the vast panorama of Texas life. Incisive, entertaining reports on politics, personalties, entertainment, arts, economics, industry … news and commentaries on everything worth knowing about Texas. Only $10 per year. Try 4 issues at no risk. If after 4 months you or the recipient are not completely satisifed, your entire purchase price will be refunded. Fill out and mail this coupon now! \(Free sample available on re To: The Texas Newsletter Desk 11, P.O. Box 94390 Dallas, Texas 75206 Enclosed is $10 \(Texas residents add The Texas Newsletter, along with a gift card from… to the following name and address: Name Address City State Zip December 14, 1973 23 The real CATV issues On Nov. 6 Houstonians turned down a franchise ordinance giving Greater Houston CATV the right to wire the city for cable. Opponents to the Greater Houston franchise insisted that no single company should be given a “monopoly” on the Houston cable. The issue now goes back to the new city council for more deliberation. Ed. By this time, the Houston CATV issue \(discussed in a Dialogue letter from Mike absolutely nothing about the Greater Houston CATV Company, but I think your readers should know that some of the issues Noblet raised are false or misleading. Noblet objects to the proposed franchise fee of 3 percent: he thinks it ought to be more. A nice idea: let the city \(and, cream from what ought to be a rather profitable operation. But unfortunately the FCC has decreed that 3 percent should be the maximum take, unless both the show good cause for a higher rate. Why 3 percent? Because creating a CATV system entails an enormous capital investment mostly for the cable itself. A higher franchise fee restricts the company’s ability to raise that capital \(mostly debt raising its monthly subscription rate or limiting the quality and extent of its services, or both. Maybe the FCC is wrong percent is a fair rate. If Noblet thinks otherwise, he should take his arguments to Washington. Noblet’s other “issues” included lack of protection of workers’ rights \(I suppose he means that the franchise doesn’t insist on a union shop, which probably would have no business being in a franchise anyway and lack of a provision for “establishing standards of excellence” \(which can only be interpreted to mean that the CATV system ought to somehow censor network programs, or something, a proposal I find invasion of privacy. This last I find most difficult to understand. I can’t think of any reason at all to legislate criminal matters in a utility franchise. If the Texas invasion of privacy statutes aren’t sufficient, this is something for the Legislature to handle. But in a franchise? Why not throw in provisions to prevent the CATV folks from robbing churches, too? Or does Noblet think that hooking a cable to your teevee gives the cable company some sort of capacity to look into your living room? I realize that an awful lot of weird things Communication have been going on, but let us keep our paranoia within reason. Cable communications could be millenial: the potential good that cable-casting might accomplish is almost incalculable. Certainly, every city that considers a CATV franchise must be alert to the possibility of getting rooked and must ensure that as much of that potential good as possible is developed for the benefit of all the people. In the process of developing cable’s potential, undoubtedly a lot of CATV folks will get rich. Considering the risks they necessarily will take and the growing mountains of regulation they will endure, I’m not convinced that getting rich is an entirely unjust reward. There are important things that any CATV franchise ought to include, whether the franchisee likes them or not. Every public facility in the city should have free access to the cable: government buildings, schools, hospitals, nursing homes and so on. Not so the Mayor can watch reruns of Leave it to Beaver, but so that the capability will exist to make full use of the cable’s c o m munications potential. Channels should be designated specifically for public access, for intragovernmental communications, for instructional programming, etc. Local program origination should be required as soon as there are enough subscribers to justify it; FCC requires this for systems with a minimum of 3,500 subscribers, but the franchise could specify 1,500 instead. Most important of all, the system should be required to have more than 12 channels available at the inception of operations, and more than 20 channels available after five years. The system should be required to make some of the channels available on a lease or rental basis \(by the minute, hour, non-commercial communications services other than ordinary mass-media programming. Finally, the system should be required to have at least five two-way channels available after five years and at least three of these channels should be available on a lease-or-rent basis. If the Houston franchise contains some or all of these provisions, I don’t see any reason for the voters to withhold their approval. The people must be vigilant in protecting their own interests, but injudicious sniping at every conceivable target will accomplish very little. Stuart M. DeLuca, 9224 Meadow Vale Dr., Austin, Tex. 78758. .1
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