Protecting the public’s channels

KUC News

LGBT Community Hurt in Public-Access TV Cutbacks

March 11, 2009

By Yasmin Nair, Windy City Times


When AT&T unveiled its U-Verse television programming service, the company waxed about the new technology that allows subscribers to access 320 channels. Recently, however, the company has come under fire for limiting access to public-access programming. The Illinois chapter of the National Association of Telecommunications Officers (NATOA ) and CAN TV (Community Access Television ) have joined a nationwide coalition to file a petition with the Federal Communications Commission ( FCC). On its Web site, NATOA says that customers of "AT&T ... can't switch between commercial and PEG channels, set a DVR to record a PEG program, or depend on getting timely local emergency alerts. AT&T's system deprives PEG channels of basic capabilities such as closed captioning."  

 

The limited access affects all members of the Chicago viewing area, but it has significant ramifications for the LGBT community. Critics contend that not being able to easily access PEG programming leaves the LGBT AT&T consumer without vital public-health information and creative programming.