In order to preserve Trumbull Community Television, State Reps. Laura Devlin (R-134) and David Rutigliano (R-123) say they have proposed legislation to “stabilize funding” for public access programming in Connecticut. The bill, HB 6437, An Act Concerning Community Access Television received a public hearing in the legislature’s Energy and Technology committee on Feb. 19.

Both Rutigliano and Devlin testified in favor of the bill and also read written testimony from Trumbull Community Television (TCT).

The proposed bill assigns certain amounts paid by electronic communications services subscribers for services transmitted via wires utilizing the public right of way in order to underwrite increased public access programming.

“With a shrinking cable subscription base, cable access programming is becoming increasingly endangered,” Devlin said. “This legislation looks to assure the longer term funding of public access television and the continued enhancement of local access to the public airwaves.”

Rep. Rutigliano said, “Trumbull Community Television is a valuable asset to Trumbull, one we want to preserve for decades to come. They are an important institution that permits local leaders to get their voice out and also promotes educational programing for the town.”

In written testimony, TCT said that maintaining public access programming on community cable television systems across the state will provide citizens a local voice. It will also offset an impending funding cliff, due to the growing number of cable television subscribers who are terminating their service by “cutting the cord.”

According to TCT, the proposed funding will create more opportunities for new community and subscriber driven programming and will help financial going forward. TCT is concerned that as cord cutting gains ground — which appears inevitable, if not imminent — funding for public access TV will degrade to the point that these channels will cease to exist.

Trumbull Community Television is a volunteer committee responsible for all aspects of the operation of Trumbull’s education channel. Legislators say they also value the significant role played by the regional public access channel.