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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Info on Public Access TV

Public Access TV in Wilmington

Approximately 80 people attended a public meeting on November 15, where attendees provided their opinions on whether the City should pursue a Public Access channel. In addition, 339 people filled out the online survey that was available on this page from Nov. 15 - Nov. 30.

Click here for the survey results

Click here to read the questions posed at the public meeting

Click here to read the comments forms filled out by attendees

Click here to read a synopsis of the general discussion


  • What is Public Access TV? Public Access TV is a dedicated channel on the cable system (in this case, TimeWarner) that allows anyone to air a television program, provided that they comply with some basic rules (technical standards, submission deadlines, decency standards, etc…)
  • TimeWarner cable in Wilmington has never hosted a Public Access Channel
  • Prior to November 2009, Time Warner offered a “Local Access” Channel (channel 4) that was used by some community groups for airing content free of charge. This was not a Public Access Channel. One defining feature of channel 4 was that TimeWarner cable maintained the right to deny access to programming it considered objectionable. The operator of a Public Access channel cannot do this.
  • In November 2009, TimeWarner cable eliminated channel 4. Since then, the city has been in discussion with parties interested in either restoring Local Access or creating Public Access in Wilmington.
  • Under the North Carolina Competitive Cable act, the city of Wilmington does have the ability to request a channel for public use.
  • Should the city ask TimeWarner for a Public Access channel and receive it, the obligation to run the channel would belong to the City of Wilmington.
  • The City could accept proposals from qualified providers to run a channel for the City.
  • SEACC (Southeastern Alliance for Community Change) has submitted a preliminary proposal to manage Public Access for the City.

Where we stand:

  • City Council must decide if they want to ask TimeWarner for a Public Access channel.
  • The City is seeking public input on this subject. The input will be provided to City Council. This input, in addition to several legal issues surrounding the provision of Public Access, will inform Council’s decision on whether or not to ask for the channel.

Click here to watch a video that provides an overview of the legal issues related to Public Access TV.

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