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Thursday, August 25, 2005

I want my CT-N!

Finally, the cable companies have come to an agreement with State legislators to carry the Connecticut Television Network (CT-N) as a part of basic cable.

For those of you who don't know what CT-N is, the network is the local version of C-Span broadcasting state legislative at the Capital. With the addition of CT-N, voters will be able to watch their Representaives and Senators and get a better understanding of how the state government operates in Hartford.

From the Hartford Courant

An agreement that supporters say is a victory for public access to state government could nearly double the number of people who could watch the legislature at work or other government meetings on television.

State legislators and cable television operators reached an agreement in June that requires all cable TV operators to include the Connecticut Network on its own channel in the basic programming package offered to all subscribers.

CT-N is funded by the state and broadcasts legislative sessions and other meetings. Network officials have been seeking to widen their audience and the new deal makes CT-N broadcasts available to anyone with cable television.

"This is the best thing that has happened to us," said Paul Giguere, president of CT-N. "It lets us focus on making CT-N as good as it can be."

For most cable franchises, the deadline for including CT-N in their offerings is Jan. 1, 2006. An exception was made for three franchises that cover 22 communities in Fairfield and Litchfield counties, which were given a deadline of Jan. 1, 2007.


CT-N was started in 1999. Earlier this year, legislators began a push to make the network available to all cable subscribers. State Rep. Stephen Fontana, co-chairman of the legislature's energy and technology committee, said several bills were introduced this year that would have mandated that CT-N be included in all basic cable packages.

But while those bills were being considered, Fontana and other legislators started negotiating a compromise.

"This was something that had a great deal of interest in the legislature," said Fontana, D-North Haven. "Taxpayers fund CT-N and we felt an obligation to make sure that more people could see it. But we wanted to work something out rather than stuff a requirement down the cable operators' throats."
This is a win-win situation for everyone in Connnecticut and it's a shame that this wasn't done years ago.