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County to launch TV channel

Veronica Whitney

Next fall, residents and visitors of Eagle County can learn about airport flights status, a wildfire or what their county commissioners are voting on, just by turning on their TVs.

Within six months, Eagle County will launch its own government access and education television channel, said Eagle County Administrator Jack Ingstad.

The Board of County Commissioners has approved agreements between Eagle County and the local cable providers, Comcast and CenturyTel. These agreements are the beginning steps in creating and developing the channel, which will only be available for cable subscribers -not satellite dishes.



“This is really exciting,” said Ingstad, a former TV reporter for CBS in Fargo, N.D. “The goal of the county is to make this a real community asset that provides current real time information in addition to doing what regular government channels do.”

Although specific details, such as the exact channel, have yet to be determined, county officials have an idea of what type of information will be available for the public. The channel will broadcast local meetings, as well as emergency and wildfire notifications; public service and community events; road conditions and closures; airport information; and county services information.



“We are excited to bring this type of service to the community and in working with the cable providers we anticipate creating a model for other government entities to follow in the future” said Tom Stone, chairman of the Board of County Commissioners.

The county will purchase the equipment necessary to broadcast with a $90,000 grant from the cable companies, said Brian Treu, the assistant county attorney. In addition, the county will get more funds from the cable companies under federal regulations.

Ingstad said he expects the county to get between $100,000 to $200,000 in user fees from unincorporated Eagle County. Ingstad said residents in unincorporated areas will likely be charged a small fee on their cable bills to view the channel. The money will be used to support the broadcasts, he added.



“It might cost us more than that, but the goal is to provide more ways of communication,” he said.

The new channel, will also broadcast information available on the county’s Web site, Ingstad said.

“The opportunities are endless with the technology,” he said. “It’s important to broadcast meetings, but this channel will allow us to give continuous updates.

“Our goal is to make this a very useful channel that people rely on.”

Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454 or at vwhitney@vaildaily.com.


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