By Mark Pazniokas
The cable and satellite television industries are lining up against a proposal for a new State Civic Network that would provide unprecedented cable and streaming video access to the legislature, courts and other aspects of public life in Connecticut.
Streaming video is a disruptive technology that has given rise to “cord cutters” who have abandoned cable in favor of Netflix, Hulu and other web-delivered video programming. But the industries’ objections center on old-fashioned profit, not new technology: They are being asked to pay for the new venture.
The legislature is considering a bill that would empower the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to assess a charge on the state’s one million cable and satellite subscribers to pay for live and archived video coverage of civic life on a far larger scale than now provided by CT-N, the state-funded cable channel.
Industry representatives say the new State Civic Network proposed by the founders and operators of CT-N would be a valuable service, but they question the rationale for financing it through what proponents say would be a modest fee on their customers, probably around 40 cents per subscriber.
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