Community Broadband Efforts Compete with Corporate Services

http://youtu.be/jWcBftCOxEc The FreePress' Save the Internet initiative covered a new report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) today and shared the video above. Josh Levy of the FreePress reported, "Bristol, Va., Chattanooga, Tenn., and Lafayette, La.— built next-generation broadband networks that deliver a faster, more affordable Internet than their corporate competitors."

Christopher Mitchell, Director of ILSR’s Telecommunications as Commons Initiative said that all three cities offer gigabit service throughout the community. Additionally, “these publicly owned networks have each created hundreds of jobs and saved millions of dollars,” said Mitchell. The full text of the ILSR report can be found here, as well as more information at the Community Broadband Networks initiative.

On Oahu, Kokua Wireless is smaller version of community broadband. It describes itself as "a private network that has joined forces with the City and County of Honolulu and Private Business sponsors, to create free access to the internet via Wifi across the island." There is also a map of where the service can be accessed, and at what data rate. Statewide, the Hawaii Broadband Task Force is using their own broadband map to collect data on usage and areas in need of service.


Hawaii Legislature Threatens Freedom of Information with SB 2858

Media Council Hawaii, along with 16 other community organizations are appealing to the state legislature on SB 2858.  In her OpEd at Civil Beat today, UH Manoa Professor emerita Beverly Deepe Keever explained problems with the bill. She said there are "portions of the bill that would permit a government agency to go to court to contest an official agency’s decision compelling disclosure to the public of a record to which the law entitles it." We agree.

"Retaining FOIA in the existing bill," said Keever. "Would unnecessarily weaken OIP’s powers, waste limited resources of OIP and other agencies, and make it even more difficult for citizens to obtain government records in a timely manner.

Read the complete OpEd here and follow the bill here.


Shift Change in Hawaii Media

Over the last month, Hawaii's media has seen quite the shift change in staffers. Will this mean new jobs will open up? Or does it fit a trend noted by Robert Niles, that journalism is the fastest dying industry? Let us know what you think. Here's a quick list of staff changes:

  • Minna Sugimoto is leaving Hawaii News Now for a PR job, Today
  • Ron Mizutani announced his plans to leave KHON for CommPac , March 21
  • Charles Memminger joined CommPac, March 16
  • Oskar Garcia named new AP Hawaii editor, March 21
  • Civil Beat: Dan Zelikman (March 17) and Kathryn Poythress (March 12) left, Nathan Eagle joined (March 12), Adrienne LaFrance began writing for Harvard's Nieman Lab (March 7).
  • Jodi Leong left KITV for UH (March 2)
  • Genie Garner, New Director at KITV left for the mainland (February 22)

FreePress Launches 'Who’s Hiding Behind That Ad?'

"If you flip on your local television station and watch for an hour or so, you’re likely to see at least one: a political ad that attacks a candidate for public office. If you live in a 'battleground

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state,' you’ll see as many as 12 political ads an hour," wrote FreePress's Senior Director of Strategy, Tim Karr in an email. "Iowa just experienced this on-air onslaught of misinformation, offering the rest of us a preview of what television viewing will be like across the nation as Election Day 2012 nears. While we may not be able to stop this barrage of ads, Free Press has a plan to expose their funders," he added. Currently, broadcasters are required to upkeep "public inspection files" that contain information about political advertising for public examination. The files should contain names of groups that purchase political advertising time and costs involved. According to Kantar Media's Campaign Media Analysis Group, media companies are expected to see more than $3 billion in revenues in 2012 from political advertising. Yesterday in the Hawaii, Civil Beat ran this editorial , citing recent poll findings "that the state's registered voters believe the wealthy — whether corporations, labor unions or individuals — have an outsized impact on elections and the decisions of members of Congress." To determine how large of an impact private wealth will have on the 2012 elections in Hawaii, examining the public file of the state's broadcasters is a good place to start. Look for a local effort by MCH to hold broadcasters accountable for their public files during this election cycle. Updated: Check out On the Media this week for more discussion on a new FCC proposal to put the public files online. Transcripts for the shows are available at their site Monday.