After a reallocation of fee and grant money, Pittsburgh's Bureau of Cable Communications will once again reclaim the bulk of the funding that it has lost over the past few years due to a complicated sharing of assets with the nonprofit Pittsburgh Community Television.
Both organizations are funded by a combination of fees collected from Verizon and Comcast in exchange for the city allowing them to run cable operations and, as part of the same contract, grants as well as profits from a Public Eduction and Government fee paid by cable subscribers. While this should have added up to roughly one million dollars to be distributed to the organizations over five years, city officials in 2011 altered the agreement made in 2008 and ended up giving the bulk of the money to Pittsburgh Community Television, so much so that the bureau has been able to spend only $140,000 on nominal capital improvements to the studio.
The cable bureau's purpose is mainly to publicly broadcast council meetings and hearings that take place in the city, but programming also includes montages of scenic Pittsburgh neighborhoods and interesting home-made advertisements. These ancillary productions are practically ancient, and an increase in funding would not only serve to update much of the produced material, but also to modernize and bring attention to the workings of the local government, hopefully increasing political activism thanks to access to the most up-to-date meetings.
Because of this, a resolution was recently written up to counteract this unequal division of assets, splitting the rest of the funds evenly between the cable bureau and Pittsburgh Cable Television. This means that $1.45 million would be allocated to the cable bureau over the next seven years, $1.45 million that would be used to update the obsolete technology, equipment, and production materials that have held the Pittsburgh Bureau of Cable Communications back from providing the city with the best possible programming.