L.A. Dream Franchise Would Be All-Digital


In Los Angeles, the ideal cable franchise would be an all-digital one as soon as 2006, with enough bandwidth set aside for a variety of new public-spirited video-on-demand services, premium high-speed Internet speeds for all who want them and local-news programming everywhere.

That’s the blueprint a City Council committee received from the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Southern California.

An all-digital conversion would free up 450 megahertz of bandwidth currently carrying analog signals. That capacity could be used for such forward-looking applications as public, educational and government programming on-demand, Annenberg visiting professor Jonathan Taplin said.

The cable platform should also be open to allow accessibility to all voices in the community, he added. "If you get to an all-digital system, you have bandwidth to burn," he told city officials at USC March 4.

Los Angeles is in informal talks with operators for new franchises in all 14 cable areas.

It is seeking new agreements with Adelphia Communications Corp., Comcast Corp., Cox Communications Inc., Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications Inc.

The city completed a needs assessment in December, but then the City Council’s Information Technology and General Services committee approached the Annenberg School for suggestions that go beyond the status quo, Taplin said.

For more on Los Angeles, please see Linda Haugsted’s story on page four of Monday’s issue of Multichannel News.