Brunswick public education channel to be explored

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BRUNSWICK — Town councilors approved an additional objective for the cable television committee Monday: seeking ways to establish an educational public television channel.

Councilor David Watson originally suggested creating a new committee, but said amending the cable committee’s charge would be acceptable. He said the town currently uses just one of four allowed public access television channels.

Channel 3 now broadcasts municipal meetings, a bulletin board of events and several privately created local television shows.

Watson said the cable committee’s objective will remain the same with the addition of exploration of an education channel as well as adding representatives from Bowdoin College and Brunswick High School. Currently, Brunswick High School students produce a program on Channel 3 called “Inside BHS.”

Councilor Suzan Wilson had the only objection to the plan and said creation of another committee may be too much.

“We need to make sure we are using the committees correctly,” she said. “I am not 100 percent sure everybody is.”

Wilson said she agrees it is important to protect bandwidth, which she described as being as valuable as gold.

“That’s the purpose of the committee, to determine a mission and use (for the channels),” Watson said.

Wilson noted Watson’s commitment to public access television, but speculated about the importance of moving ahead quickly.

Watson said action is timely because negotiations are coming up with Comcast, which provides cable service in Brunswick, and said he fears the town will lose access to channels not being used.

“I suspect if we don’t act poste-haste, we may lose the bandwidth,” he said.

Councilor Ben Tucker said Watson “has really thought this through.” He said the town has the option of broadcasting an education channel and it should be taken advantage of. 

“It’s pretty simple and I don’t think we need to over-analyze this anymore,” he said.

Stephanie Grinnell can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or sgrinnell@theforecaster.net.

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