Community Media’s aspiration of broadcasting in high-definition and having individual shows listed on program guides took a big step toward reality today as the Senate Committee on Ways and Means advanced bill S. 1857 – An Act to Support Community Access Television. Introduced by Senator John Keenan of Quincy, the bill seeks to place local channels on an equal footing with broadcast channels and would be the first of its kind to be successful in the country.

The bill is slated for consideration by the full Senate on Thursday June 28th.

An identical bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Ruth Balser and Rep. Antonio Cabral, but it was sent to study by the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy. The Senate bill was referred favorably to Ways and Means in March. The original bills have 80 co-signers in the House and Senate and more than half of Massachusetts Senators signed on to a letter to Ways and Means Chair Senator Karen Spilka, asking her to advance the bill. If the bill passes the Senate, it will move to the House for consideration on the floor.

Please contact your Senator today to ask for their vote for this bill on Thursday. NECTA and the cable companies will be actively pushing to defeat this bill, so it is imperative that you make the call to enforce your support. If enacted, S. 1857 would allow local media to provide a more complete and modern service to the over 2,000,000 cable subscribers in the state.

Read more in today’s State House News.

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