Community Television in the United States: A Sourcebook on Public, Educational, and Governmental Access

By Linda K. Fuller | Go to book overview

Chapter Six
Implications and Predictions

Genuine democracy requires the participation of individuals in matters of concern to their common social and political life.1

Douglas Kellner, 1992

As the twentieth century draws to a close, the re-regulatory climate in Washington will undoubtedly have a substantial impact on the future of community television. 2 While cable programming continues to threaten traditional broadcasting audience ratings, competition also looms from a number of other sources, in particular video rentals and sales, but video games like those produced by Nintendo and Genesis are also fighting for the same niches.

Meanwhile, cable has its own concerns--mainly, the threat of telephone companies ("telcos") entering the business of video delivery, offering "video dial tone" via fiber-optic cable. Potentially allowing anywhere from 500 to 5,000 channels in a true common carrier environment, telco video dial tone could easily inflict on cablecasters the same economic worries that cable has dealt broadcasters. The economics of fiber-optic cable demand our attention: "Fiber is cheaper to install, easier to maintain, more durable, and can carry many times more data than conventional coaxial cable" ( Belsie, 1993).

Another delivery source might be by conventional copper wire, utilizing digital compression technology. Competition is also expected from "wireless cable" technologies such as cellular television and, as will be discussed later, multiple channel microwave services (MMDS) and direct broadcast satellites (DBS). The wider potential is for the creation of "virtual television" in addition to information systems; that is, the "Information Highway" that has received recent attention in the press. For proponents of public access to information delivery systems, concern focuses on economic constraints of who will sponsor and who will be able to pay for these added services.

-177-

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Community Television in the United States: A Sourcebook on Public, Educational, and Governmental Access
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Chapter One - Considerations on the Promises and Problems of Community Television 1
  • Notes 35
  • Chapter Two - Related Organizations and Individuals 39
  • Notes 64
  • Chapter Three - Chapter Th 67
  • Notes 112
  • Chapter Four - Production and Producers 117
  • Notes 145
  • Chapter Five - Examples of Community Television 147
  • Notes 174
  • Chapter Six - Implications and Predictions 177
  • APPENDIXES 193
  • Glossary 251
  • References 259
  • Index 271
  • About the Author 281
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