Town Renews Comcast Cable Television License

The Select Board on Monday approved a 10-year renewal of the town’s cable television license with Comcast, resulting in a slightly increased revenue stream for Bedford Community Access TV.

The agreement increases the share of a subscriber’s monthly bill to underwrite Bedford TV from 4.25 percent to 4.75 percent. The impact on the average consumer will be $7 to $8 a year, said Select Board member Emily Mitchell, the board’s liaison to the Community Media Committee.

Under federal law, cable operators are required to finance so-called PEG channels for public, educational, or governmental use. The Community Media Committee has expressed concern about long-term funding since the number of cable television subscribers is declining.

Mitchell noted that 5 percent is the maximum monthly charge allowed under federal law. She noted that there is a discount available for senior/older residents.

The current license expires on April 6, and the town’s agreement with the other cable provider, Verizon, is good until October.

Atty. William August, who has been advising the Select Board on cable provider contracts for several years, said he has been communicating with Brian Hebert, director of Bedford TV, for several months. “We are happy with our dealings with Comcast,” he said.

In answer to a question from board member Shawn Hanegan, Hebert said the new agreement will include an upgrade to high-definition on the Comcast channel. Bedford TV’s YouTube transmissions are already in high definition. Mitchell said most viewers connect to YouTube.

The Select Board voted to recommend Town Meeting approval of Bedford TV’s fiscal 2025 budget request totaling $286,376, an increase of 2.6 percent. That amount was approved by the Community Media Committee.

There was a $164 increase in the capital portion of the budget. Bedford TV unexpectedly had to replace a livestreaming kit recently, “probably the most important piece of equipment that we have,” Hebert said. That deferred purchase of a studio camera to next fiscal year.

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