By Tim Faulkner
GATEHOUSE NEWS SERVICE
Posted Oct 21, 2008 @ 03:26 AM
As more subscribers sign up for high-definition cable, it seems they’ll be getting fewer Boston-based newscasts, said Jerry Gibbs, a member of the town’s cable advisory board at Tuesday’s meeting with selectmen.
He estimated that Comcast, the town’s designated cable provider, has been dropping Boston news reports at the rate of about one per month from their HD cable package.
Currently two Boston channels remain, while about five have been eliminated, he said.
“For local people, it’s a big issue and we need to address it,” he told the selectmen.
In order to reverse the trend, Gibbs is working with other cities and towns in Bristol County to pass a resolution calling for a switch from the federally-mandated Providence viewing area to the Boston market.
“We’re going to fight very, very hard to get that moved,” he said.
Efforts are under way to have selectmen in Easton, Mansfield and Norton endorse a plea to elected officials, television station managers in Boston and the Federal Communication Commission to officially join the Boston market.
Despite a promise from Verizon officials, who said they plan to keep Boston channels when they offer HD cable service in Raynham next year, Gibbs said he wants to change the law in case company officials go back on their word.
Comcast has assured customers with standard-definition cable service they will keep all Boston channels and their programming.
A spokesman for Comcast said HD subscribers only lose news reports and keep all other programming from the Boston stations.