Monday, March 23, 2009

U-verse information from AT&T meeting with members of the staff of the PEG Center, UATV, FHSTV, the mayor's office and the Telecom board

Aubrey Shepherd's comment on the meeting:
While it was not a public meeting, it was important that both the administration (represented by Don Marr), the telecom board, and by extension the city council, (represented by me and by Andy Mayes) were present to gather information and hear promises made in the "closed" meeting. The technical representatives for government channel, CAT channel, FHS and UATV were the ones who best understood most of the information and will be meeting with technical people in coming weeks to plan the logistics of getting the signal on the AT&T system from the different sites. Both the administration and the board are among those who NEED TO KNOW what the requirements are, particularly for budgeting and for planning how to address questions from the voting and consuming public.
A special request from Mr. Mayes, who is both a member of the Telecom Board and an employee of the Fayetteville school system, was that AT&T provide a fourth channel so that FHS and the UA be able to provide programing separately for 24 hours, 7 days a week. Everyone else attending the meeting appeared to agree to the value of that request.
The AT&T official presenting at the meeting through a conference call agreed to discuss that possibility with his superiors.
It was an important and valuable meeting.

Andy Mayes' comment on the meeting:
While it is true the meeting was mostly logistical in nature, I think that those of us there collectively brought out several good points about concerns over the quality and availability of U-Verse service overall. AT&T attempted to address those concerns and I think a brief report of those responses at the next regular Telecom board meeting would be appropriate.
Next steps are for engineering assessments to occur within the next couple of weeks, and for AT&T to present a specific proposal for implementing distribution of Fayetteville’s public access channels over U-Verse.
We should bear in mind that it is not yet a given that these services will be implemented for public access channels in the city, as there is still some negotiation to be done regarding the presence of these channels on U-Verse at all and if so in what form. There are also several implementation and funding issues that will require follow-up negotiations with the various entities concerned whether we gain an additional channel or not.
Thanks to the PEG center staff for capturing the meeting on video, it would be great if we could get something worthy of posting online from that!

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