Cable TV groups in line for grants

FVTV, TV ETC to use funds for education, public acces programs

By Gordon Oliver, Columbian business editor

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PEG Committee recommendations

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Cable Commission agenda

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Cable staff recommendations

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The City/County Telecommunications Commission is expected at its Wednesday meeting to endorse $321,468 in grants for equipment and capital costs to fund a wide range of education and public assess cable programs.

The recommended funding will be divided between FVTV, which operates public access Channel 11, and TV ETC, a consortium that represents public, private and state education institutions in Clark County. TV ETC programming is broadcast on channels, 27, 28, and 29.

The cable groups say they’ll use the money to upgrade equipment or purchase new cameras that will allow expanded programming and continue their conversion to HD broadcasts. New cameras will allow the Vancouver and Evergreen school districts to increase their popular live coverage of high school sporting events, said Rose Yandell, coordinator for TV ETC

Ron Carr, FVTV’s board chairman, said the public access channel is also moving from analog to digital equipment that allows for higher quality programming and more training opportunities for people who use the nonprofit’s services. FVTV will purchase consumer-grade cameras that are a stepping stone to the more professional cameras that intimidate some novices, he said. “This allows us to have different levels of expertise,” Carr said.

Both organizations had requested about $275,000. For TV ETC, additional money would have paid for more cameras students could have used at sporting events.

“We’re disappointed but we understand,” Yandell said of not receiving the full amount requested. “Funding has diminished over the years.”Carr also said he recognized the funding realities, given a gradual decline in the number of cable television customers.

“What people should be excited about is its getting better all the time,” he said. “We’re not getting everything, but we’re moving in the right direction.”

The commission’s recommendations are advisory to the Vancouver City Council and the Clark County Board of Commissioners.

The money comes from a $1 per month payment from cable customers that is collected by Comcast, the sole cable provider within the commission’s jurisdiction of Vancouver and much of Clark County. The I-NET institutional cable network also receive a $227,000 allocation from the fund. I-NET’s users are the city of Vancouver, Clark County, Fort Vancouver Regional Library District and the NW Regional Training Center.

The commission meets at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at Vancouver City Hall, 415 W. Sixth St.