Cable Regulations

The General Assembly might alter cable T-V in North Carolina under a bill lawmakers could take up this spring. The legislation could give the state -- instead of local governments -- regulatory authority over who can provide television through cable or broadband Internet. That worries Chad Johnston, executive director of The People's Channel in Chapel Hill. The nonprofit channel runs Channel Eight for about 20-thousand cable subscribers in Orange County. Johnston says current opportunities could end if the bill passes. Public access channels are often a product of negotiations between local leaders and cable television providers. Johnson says giving franchise authority to the state could mean fewer such channels and less money for them. But many cable television viewers say allowing companies to compete statewide would lead to more choices on the tube -- and lower monthly bills.