Duties & Responsibilities
The Cable Television Advisory Board advises the Board of Selectmen concerning contract negotiations with cable television providers and monitors whether the cable television companies are meeting the stipulations listed in the contracts.
Public Access Television
Public access television in Halifax is produced by "Area 58 Public Media" a non-profit corporation funded by the Towns of Carver, Halifax, and Plympton. Phone number is phone (508)-866-1019. Address is P.O. Box 287, 60 South Meadow Road, Carver, MA 02330. E-mail is [email protected]
Local Cable Broadcasts
The Halifax School Committee and Board of Selectmen's meetings are back on cable. Various meetings of the Board of Selectmen, Finance Committee are on Channel 15. Halifax Elementary School Committee and Silver Lake Regional School Committee are broadcast on Channel 14. In addition, some meetings may be available through the "area58_halifax".
Taping of Meetings and Other Events
If there is a public meeting or event which you would liked taped for future broadcast, please contact John Shiavone at 781-724-9059.
Posting Announcements on Public Access Channel
Send notices for publication on the public access cable list of announcements/scroll to: [email protected]
Other Cable Companies
Except for Comcast, no other entity has indicated an interest in bringing cable television to Halifax. While Verizon has cable service in some communities in southeastern Massachusetts, it has decided, for financial reasons, not to offer cable service in Halifax. The Town cannot require that Verizon or any other cable television company provide service. Residents interested in having Verizon bring cable service to Halifax should contact Donna C. Cupelo, President, Verizon New England, INc., 125 High Street, Oliver Tower, 7th floor, Boston, MA 02110, Telephone: (617) 743-6859 E-mail: [email protected]
Franchise Fee Explanation
The Halifax Board of Selectmen's Office has received a number of inquiries about a new charge on bills received by subscribers to Comcast's cable television service.
Since the origination of cable television service in Halifax, the company providing that service, first Harron, then Adelphia, now Comcast, has run a public access studio in Halifax. The studio filmed various government meetings and Halifax events and provided an opportunity for residents to create their own programs. All this was paid for by the revenues that the cable companies derived from the subscribers and were part of the bill paid by the subscribers.
While the cable companies could have shown these costs as a separate item on the subscribers' bills, they chose not to do this. These operations were never free, never a donation by the cable company, but were required by the licensing agreements between the Town of Halifax and the cable companies.
The new licensing agreement between Comcast and the Town of Halifax, signed in 2014, stipulates that Comcast would cease running the studio at the end of 2014. Comcast was not interested in continuing to run the studio (in almost all other Comcast communities, public access is provided by a non-profit organization) and the Town could not require that Comcast continue to do so. The Town of Halifax worked with the Towns of Carver and Plympton to form "Area 58 Public Media", a separate non-profit organization running public access programming for the three communities.
Comcast has decided to, and has every right to, separate out the costs of public access and show it as a specific charge on the bills of subscribers. However, while this cost is shown as a line item on the bill, Comcast has not removed that cost from the main part of the bill paid by subscribers. In essence, Comcast is charging subscribers in two places for the costs of public access, the amount that remains in the main part of the bill (which it will keep) and the amount shown as the franchise fee, which will be sent to the Town of Halifax for public access programming.
Because Comcast was able to run the studio as part of its overall operations, its costs were less than what the Town will need to spend to provide public access programming. Therefore, the amount of the franchise fee will be higher than the amount that Comcast originally included in its bills.
Any subscribers with questions about the franchise fee can contact the Halifax Board of Selectmen's Office at 781-294-1316.
Low cost Internet services
Comcast runs a program through internetessentials.com providing families with children who are eligible to receive free lunches under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) with low-cost Internet services, affordable computers and digital literacy training.