Does anyone watch public-access television anymore? Well, Cox has made it much more difficult to do just that. On its website, it lists channels that are included with the “Standard TV” package. All of the local public access channels are listed – and next to them is an asterisk. I read the fine print at the bottom of the page, and was informed that receiving public TV with your cable package “Requires a digital receiver or CableCARD rental. TV sets with a built-in (Clear QAM) digital tuner will receive local broadcast channels without equipment rental.”
Recently, a colleague called to try and get this mysterious receiver so he could watch the City of Santa Barbara Government Access Channel 18, only to find out that there was an extra fee for a Cox employee to come to his house and install the box.
Why is community-access TV, produced with our tax dollars and broadcast on the public airwaves, not available to the public in Santa Barbara?