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News and Announcements

An Act To Ensure Non-Discriminatory Treatment of Public, Educational and Governmental Access Channel

The CTAM Task Force has been working on the following bill to be introduced into the Maine State Legislature this fall. Among other things, it calls for PEG channels to be transmitted to the subscriber in full HD if that is the format received by the cable operator or NPO which operates the Access Center. Your support (including assistance in contacting your legislators)of the bill, yet to be assigned a number, will be appreciated!



This bill first amends §3008, the Ordinance Chapter 141 of Title 30-A to require all cable franchises to provide line extensions with a minimum homes per mile requirement not to exceed 15 HPM. This will have the effect of extending service to far more rural areas than can be accomplished in any other manner.

Second, this bill prevents “automatic franchise renewals” beyond the initial term of the franchise renewal period. Existing franchises with automatic renewals will be grandfathered but will now require a 36 month advance notification of expiration from the cable operator to the municipality.

Third, this bill includes a provision for “use and support” of PEG channels and requires that they be placed in the same numerical sequence location as the local commercial network broadcast channels.

Fourth, this bill updates the Maine Model Franchise paragraph and prevents the cable operator from refusing to modify or amend this model without the consent of the municipality as arrived at during negotiations.


This bill also amends §3010, the Ordinance Chapter 141 of Title 30-A regarding Consumer Rights and Protection as follows:

This bill requires all cable operators in Maine to carry Public, Educational and Governmental (PEG) channels on the basic cable or video service offerings or tiers and such channels shall not be separated or moved numerically from other channels carried on the basic cable or video service offerings or tiers without the agreement of the local unit of government or the entity to which the local unit of government has assigned responsibility for managing PEG access channels (the PEG Originator), unless the change is required by federal law. In the event of transfer of the franchise license, the same channel numbers used by the incumbent cable operator shall be retained. This law shall be retroactive such that any PEG channels that have been moved in the past 24 months without the consent of the PEG Originator will be restored to their original location and number.

Secondly, this bill requires all cable operators in Maine to work with the PEG Originator to insure that the signal sent from the point of origination to the cable operator and delivered to the cable subscriber is of the same quality and format as originally created, without exception.

Third, this bill requires all cable operators to provide PEG operators access to the entity that controls the electronic programming guides in the same manner as the local broadcast channels if requested by the PEG Originator. Also, PEG channel designations will be displayed in a similar manner as other channels on the program guide.

Fourth, this bill requires all cable operators to comply with Franchise Renewal procedures in a timely manner without “automatic extensions”. Further, the cable operator cannot refuse to provide the municipality with required information to complete the renewal process.

Fifth, this bill requires cable television operators to provide a toll free number for PEG originators to call in the event of service problems related to PEG channels.


Click on the following link to view or download . . .

Full Text of Bill in PDF Format (Revised Feb 2019)


Charter/Spectrum Announces PEG Channel Number Reallocation

Several weeks ago, Charter Communications/Spectrum which provides cable television and internet services to some 98% of the town and cities in the State of Maine sent a letter to several municipalities they serve announcing changes to the long-standing channel allocation for PEG (Public, Educational, and Governmental) local access stations:

Charter Communications
October 13, 2017

Dear Municipal Official:

Spectrum is committed to providing our customers with the very best products, at the very best value. We have enhanced our fiber-rich network to enable us to offer the highest level of performance and innovation, which will allow our customers to enjoy over 110 HD channels.

Spectrum is also taking steps to further secure its network in the coming weeks. In our continued effort to keep you informed, we would like you to understand how these changes may impact your constituents.

On November 28, 2017, Spectrum will begin encrypting the channels on the Basic/Starter service tiers In your community. This will allow Spectrum to better maintain the integrity of its network and offer more enhanced features.

As a result, customers will be required to have a Spectrum Receiver on each TV in their home by November 28, 2017. Customers are eligible to receive equipment at no additional charge for a limited period of time, depending on their level of service.

If customers have an existing set-top-box, digital transport adapter (DTA), or retail device with a CabIeCARD on each TV, they should be unaffected by this charge. Please note that if customers have TV(s) without equipment issued by Spectrum, they will lose the ability to view channels. In order to get a Spectrum Receiver, customers can call 1-884-830-4787 to order a self-installation kit. We'll ship the kit directly to their home at no additional cost.

Shelley Winchenbach
Spectrum Communications
400 Old County Road
Rockland, ME 04841


In addition to raising concerns that cable television costs would be increasing due to the need for all viewers to have a set-top box or DTA for each television (even "smart-tvs" which could previously receive the lower channels and basic tier programming without add-on equipment) of even greater concern to municipalities and PEG stations was the attachment at the end of the letter. This was a chart showing (among other channel changes) that the local access channels (typically located on single digit channels would be moving to 1301, 1302, and 1303 respectively. No mention was made of other common access channel designations such as 120-1, 120-2 etc where many PEG channels were moved when Time Warner went digital several years ago. It is assumed that those would also move to the 1300 block.

In response, the Town of Bristol, Maine sent a reply which is published here with their permission:

Municipal Office, Town of Bristol, Maine
P. 0. Box 339 Bristol, Maine 04539

Shelley Winchenbach
Director, Government Affairs New England Charter Communications
400 Old County Road
Rockland, ME 04841

October 24, 2017

Dear Ms. Winchenbach,

Thank you for your letter to Municipal Officials of October 13th, outlining the changes to Charter Communications' cable television service in this community.

As a Town that relies heavily on Public Access Channel 7 to reach out to our citizens, and in particular to the elderly and housebound, we the Selectmen of Bristol wish to protest in the strongest possible terms to the change of Channel 7 to Channel 1301. This high number makes it effectively impossible to find the station by running through channels. Keeping the channel in the vicinity of our local broadcast channels allows easy access for all viewers.

We understand that you may consider channel numbering to be a technical matter between you and Channel 7, but we feel that this is a betrayal of the principles behind our new franchise award to Charter Communications for service to the Town of Bristol. We believe that such action would have been unthinkable by the former Time Warner cable prior to its acquisition by Charter and that it reflects poorly on your management's stewardship of the public monopoly you have been granted. We urge you to reconsider this decision.
Yours sincerely,

Chad Hanna

Paul Yates

Harry Lowd III


If your municipality or PEG station would like to join the protest, please contact the Community Television Association of Maine at info@ctamaine.org.



Important Information for Charter/Spectrum Customers and Local Access Stations

Download Tri-fold Brochure

CTAM has produced a tri-fold brochure outlining the major points of proposed legislation to ensure the non-discriminatory treatment of PEG access channels by the cable operator. Please click on the graphic at the left to download a printable PDF of the brochure AND freely distribute it.


Download or view . . .
Full Text of LD1371 in PDF Format (Revised March 22, 2019)

CTAM Press Release (3/21/2019)

Saco River Chronicles: Tony Vigue & State Senator David Woodsome from srctv on Vimeo.

Tony Vigue of the Community Television Association of Maine joins Senator Dave Woodsome of Waterboro for a discussion about recent actions taken by Charter/Spectrum Corporation and the Federal Communications Commission; actions that have potentially devastating consequences for community media channels here and elsewhere. New legislation here in Maine, sponsored by Senator Woodsome, if adopted, will benefit municipalities and consumers alike.


CTAM Presentation - PEG Channel Slamming by Charter Corp. from MBTV on Vimeo.


Charter moves community channels from srctv on Vimeo.

As part of their so called "encryption project" Charter (Spectrum) has begun moving many towns public access/community television channels away from the lower tier (where the channels are more easily found) to the 1300 series. This action will likely make it more difficult for consumers in your service area to locate local community television channels. If you would like to download either video for showing on your access channel, click the 'Vimeo' link in the lower right corner of the video to view the video on the Vimeo website. There you will find a download link.


Download video of Terri Wright, Director of Berwick Community Television talking about bill submitted by CTAM to the Maine Legislature.

Terri Wright, a CTAM member and Director of Berwick Community Television, talks about LR #130, a bill submitted by CTAM to the Maine Legislature - "An Act to Ensure Treatment of Public, Educational and Governmental Access Channels by the Cable Operator". Please click on the above image to view or download this video for showing on  your community access channel(s).

Contact Us

Community Television
Association of Maine
516 Congress Street
Portland, ME 04101
Phone: (207) 775-2900 x210
FAX: (207) 761-2559

E-Mail: info@ctamaine.org

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