PhillyCAM is the non-profit designated by the City of Philadelphia to operate its public access television network. On October 23, 2009 PhillyCAM started cablecasting on Comcast 66/966 and Verizon 29/30. This is a landmark achievement in a city that fought for 27 years to finally get its public access television.
What’s Public Access?
Public access is a system on cable television, which provides people with access to equipment and training to make and broadcast their own non-commercial programs, publicize their activities or get their message out without having to buy airtime.
The public receives access to these facilities as compensation from the cable companies that are given the right to do business within a given municipality, including the use of public rights of way (sidewalks, telephone poles, etc.). This compensation is in the form of franchise fees that are paid to the City and an agreement to provide facilities and equipment and channel capacity for public access.
Public access cable is not the same as public broadcasting. Public or community access programming and content production is open to everyone in the community on a typically first come first served basis. Public access serves as an “electronic park” where people from all different types of communities have the opportunity to share their views and information on just about anything—arts and culture, sports, cooking, religion, education, local issues, national news, health concerns—the list is only limited by the people’s imagination.