For nearly one year Telecom Australia has been carrying out a trial of
residential cable TV in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. It has been delivered
free to 300 homes or approximately 1,000 residents. When the trial ends
a range of subscription fees will be introduced as the metropolitan fibreoptic/coaxial
cable system 'rolls out' (is extended).
Services include ten or so retransmitted channels from existing services
sourced from Australia and overseas. They are ABC, SBS,
CNN (world news), Worldnet (US public affairs and cultural
material), NASA Select, with news from the NASA space program,
The Community Channel and others. The Community Channel is locally
originated and cablecast from the Paddington Town Hall.
The trial is continually assessed by the residents, Telecom and government.
Information gathered from this trial will be used to assist in the development
of larger projects with the roll out of the cable system over the next
few years to be an Australia-wide system, similar to that used in the
US. These future cable services will be targeted locally, State-wide,
nationally or internationally. This will be achieved through 'hybrid'
delivery systems: a mixture of cable, free-to-air, microwave and satellite.
The Cable TV Trial is wholly distinct from the free-to-air sixth TV channel.
Cable TV, with many more channels, will be available soon, initially to
built up suburbs in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane, with 150,000
homes passed by cable by the end of 1994.
The Community Channel
For Metro Television, the primary focus of the trial is the operation
of a demonstration community, cultural and educational non profit (CCEN)
service called the Community Channel within the cable TV trial in collaboration
with Telecom. Residents, community-based groups, volunteers, independent
film and videomakers and other interested parties are involved in making
programs and in organising broadcasting 7 days a week.
The Community Channel is a community development project undertaken by
Metro Television and has been important in influencing the way in which
cable broadcast technology is configured and used by communities, institutions
and industry. Because of the success of the trial local communities in
built up areas can now have their own local nonprofit cable channel as
part of the cable system.
We broadcast around four hours of programs each day of local news, arts,
history, education and training, youth programming, independent films
and videos and other kinds of innovative programming ideas. As more material
becomes available broadcast times will become longer. Involved in the
project are residents, community TV groups, local schools, the State Library,
Sydney University, Open Training and Education Network (OTEN), the College
of Fine Arts, and others.
Activities of the locally originated Community Channel are:
acquisition of already produced program material
compilation and editing together of existing material
production of new material including locally made programs,
local sponsorship announcements and menu and notice board services
scheduling programs that are transmitted via the Uninet
cable system between Sydney universities.
Sponsorship for this service is sought from small and local business groups
and other sources as there is not yet any direct financial support for
program material production or purchase. Sponsors can purchase a sponsorship
announcement, sponsor a program, or can sponsor the overall service. It
is intended that when sponsorship or other support can be gained, particularly
in the next stage of the roll-out, then program producers and suppliers
can be paid for their material. Tax deductible donations can be made to
support the service.
Community, cultural and educational non profit (CCEN) services using cable
TV is a fundamental part of the Australian information infrastructure
required to take all Australians into the next century. These CCEN services
are an important information and cultural exchange platform that can provide
services to communities that existing and planned television services
cannot fully provide. The Community Channel is an opportunity to develop
a dynamic complimentary and supplementary range of services to existing
commercial and government services.
We broadcast seven days a week.
What the Community Channel Needs
Program material - The Community Channel needs ideas and
programs: shorts, dramas, youth programs, schools shows, educational programs,
documentaries, comedy series, music, live interviews, news and current
affairs and other programs. Other community TV groups, like CTV-1 in Redfern,
work with the Community Channel to present programs.
Volunteers - are needed for organising, fundraising, program
production groups, and other activities. Everyone is welcome to attend
the regular Saturday morning meetings and get involved. The Channel particularly
needs people with cameras and other equipment. Already in production are:
Kaleidoscope (arts program), In Point (news
and current affairs), Kids and Story (children's authors
and books), Underground Rockit (independent music), a short
film and video program, and many others.
How to get Involved?
Residents, volunteers and other interested parties are invited to either
come to the information meetings held the first Saturday of each month
at Metro TV in the Paddington Town Hall at 11.00 a.m., or ring the below
number for more information.
Contact the Community Channel on: Phone/Fax: (02) 360 7417 or write to:
The Community Channel, PO Box 414, Paddington NSW 2021.
We acknowledge the assistance of Telecom Australia, the Australian
Film Commission, the NSW Film and Television Office, the Council of the
City of South Sydney, local residents, our volunteers and all our supporters.