In a four-to-zero vote this week, the Sonora City Council voted to spend more than 12-thousand dollars to become part of an agreement between Comcast Cable and Tuolumne County.
Cable Eight´s Doug Geary spoke to the Council members about the creation of the local public access channel. He said it was mandated by the Cable TV Act of 1984, where the government decided “since we´re going to give this monopoly to a cable company who´s going to bring in cable signals from outside, we want to make sure that people have access to local programming so they mandated that a local channel be part of each cable system.”
The discussion came about when Councilman David Sheppard asked if spending the money was necessary, with the new competition of home satellite television.
Geary explained that, without the cable company, local television in the Mother Lode would disappear.
“[The cable company] didn´t do this out of the goodness of their heart. It´s part of the Cable Act they they actually turn over at least one channel to a local entity so that you can get local programming, but we exist at their pleasure. If they go away, we go away,” Geary said.
The council unanimously approved the partnership with the county. The contract is with Buske Group Consulting, who will renegotiate a franchise agreement with Comcast.