Let’s Make a Deal – Cable company, not subscribers, should pay for WCAT

With the town’s contract with Comcast up for renewal, it was nice to hear Councillor Nick DelVento publicly state his opinion that Comcast (if in fact the town selects Comcast to renew the contract) must address the needs – equipment, new technology, and otherwise – of Winthrop Community Access Television (WCAT) in the new contract.

DelVento’s comments came during the town manager’s report and echoed the thoughts of many people in the town: WCAT, under the highly capable leadership of Mike Cabral, provides a valuable service to the town of Winthrop, and that extends beyond its outstanding live coverage of Council and School Committee meetings.

Councillor Jeanne Maggio also expressed her support for WCAT and wondered aloud if the town were to sign on with a cable television company other than Comcast, would the town retains its community access television channel.

Michele Karas, assistant finance director and MIS director, showed some expertise on cable television issues at the meeting, saying that she had been involved in the negotiation process on a previous occasion. Karas certainly merits a seat at the table when the negotiations for the new contract commence.

The point is that WCAT has become an important and trusted institution in the town and we hope that Comcast will provide the finances and technological advances it needs to thrive in the years to come.

Moreover, to the extent that Comcast should be expected to maintain WCAT as a viable entity, whoever is on the committee negotiating the contract with Comcast must insist that Comcast pay for the technological upgrades, not subscribers by means of a surcharge on their bills each month.

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