Community Television is normally referred to as “PEG Access Television.”
When a community negotiates for a franchise agreement with their local cable provider, one of the things that the community can insist on getting is channel space for local public, education and government television as well as franchise fees to operate them. Franchise Fees are payment for the rights of way (ROW) that the cable company uses when it installs the cable lines throughout the community. The number of channels and the franchise fees vary amongst communities and are based on local preferences. For example, in NH, some communities have no channels and one has as many as five. Franchise fees are also negotiated and range from zero to 5% (the maximum allowed by the FCC). Equipment grants can be negotiated as well and vary greatly from community to community depending on needs.
The “P”, or public channel, is used by community members to televise whatever programs they create or sponsor. Many communities provide training on various types of equipment that the public can use to create these programs. The public channel is the one where 1st Amendment Rights of Free Speech are totally protected.
The “E”, or education channel, is usually turned over to the local school district to determine who can use it and what kinds of programs will be shown. Very often, this is where you would see videos of classroom activities or student productions which would be approved by the school authorities.
Finally, the “G”, or government channel, is most often used to show gavel-to-gavel coverage of government meetings. These meetings may also be taped and replayed. Some communities also produce informational programs about the government or its projects on these channels.
Programming for the PEG channels is usually produced by community volunteers. Some access centers also have paid staff to assist in the production of programming but this varies widely among communities.