Cable Access Director of Salisbury Trying to Tap More from Comcast®

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Contract Negotiations With Salisbury

The contract negotiations between Salisbury and Comcast® is still going on and the executive director of the cable access station hopes to turn the table on the cable provider to increase its rate. The contract of Comcast® with Salisbury ended on August 12, 2017, and both the parties were operating under the agreement that was expired.

Even though the director of Salisbury Community TV & Media Center, Lance Wisniewski, said that he and the board of directors are “hopeful and confident.” Neil Harrington, the Town Manager, and the council will be negotiating to make the best possible deal. However, Lance Wisniewski would like to seek more from Comcast®.

“As is the norm throughout the rest of the country, we are seeking to get 5 percent of the gross revenues in Salisbury from cable TV only, not for the internet and not for the telephone to fund our operating budget,” Wisniewski said. “We have been, for the last 10 years, receiving 4 percent. We want to raise that to the FCC maximum of 5 percent, which is more typical of municipalities nationwide.”

In the previous fiscal year, Comcast® kicked in more than 187,000 dollars to SCTV, as per Wisniewski. If the cable provider is to boost the percentage to five, SCTV could get about 235,000 dollars. When Comcast® has moved into phone and internet service, after signing the contract with Salisbury town in 2007, Wisniewski said that the cable access stations are not permitted to have a percentage of the gross revenue from these services, by the Federal Communications Commission.

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“That money is off limits by the FCC,” Wisniewski said. “That is a big, nationwide issue as the country seems to go more and more through streaming and various internet-related means of getting all sorts of information. That is an issue but we are trying to get the allowable maximum with the community’s support.”

SCTV makes video coverage of the Salisbury history presentations, meetings of the Board of Selectmen, and many other important events in the town, the cable access station do not own a studio or make video coverage. “We have a control room in (Town Hall) and we have adapted that space to do some other things for us, too,” Wisniewski said. “We rely a lot on portable equipment when we go out and we have equipment and facilities in the (public library’s) community meeting room.”

Wisniewski further added that SCTV is planning to setup a studio. However, all the moves that the cable access station makes depend on the deal of the town with Comcast Corporation®. “Comcast® just won’t budge an inch,” Wisniewski said. “They are saying that it would cost too much and would be too complicated. As if they don’t have the money.”

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