Getting city-owned public access channel could cost Bainbridge Island nearly $1 million

The Bainbridge Island City Council will discuss restoring the island's local public access channel to cable TV this week.

The cost of bringing the program back, though, could total almost $1 million in equipment costs alone over a 10-year period.

After conducting a needs assessment last month, CBG Communications, Inc. recommended the city purchase upgraded equipment, install a control room in the city council chambers and consider adding a mobile production vehicle to the program to revive the channel.

The base cost of the equipment plus installation, training and warranty costs would total $929,600.

If Comcast subscribership on Bainbridge remains the same, CBG Communications reported, in the same 10-year period, revenue generated by having the program would cover just half the costs for the new gear.

Bainbridge Comcast subscribers will provide $50,000 per year for the service at $1 per month.

City council meetings are currently broadcasted on city-owned equipment by a staff person. The city pays $30,000 per year to produce the meetings.

By bringing back Bainbridge's own public access channel, content could be broadened to cover K-12 education, community events, public and city meetings.

At this week's meeting, the Bainbridge city council will consider the next steps to bringing back the channel and how it could be funded.

The city council meets at 7 p.m. Tuesdays in city hall.

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