I read in the Gazette today the story that the council is too mean or worried to webcast the council meetings. What a load of tosh! It's an old story and one I looked into when I started as a councillor.
If you want your council meetings webcast then it's not cheap. We aren't discussing a three minute YouTube clip but a fully duplex high bandwidth facility piped into the offices in Cecil Square. Those readers with a more intelligent grasp of the challenge than the hacks at the Thanet Gazumph will realise that paying £15 a month for their 8mb broadband connection is cheap because the 8mb only goes one way. Ask your ISP for 8mb upstream and you'll be paying rather more than your monthly charge.
Now extrapolate that as bandwidth in and out of the council offices and you'll realise that live webcasting invariably comes with a hefty bandwidth bill. So the simple choice is do you want your council meetings televised and if you do are you happy to pay for it or see one of the other council services cut-back to finance it. At this time in our history, I believe we have more urgent priorities to spend our dwindling budget on.
Councillor/Doctor Simon Moores, Thanet Life, 20 Feb 2009
Cllr. Simon Moores, Cabinet Member for Customer Services, said: 'The council is constantly looking at how we can use new technology to improve the service that we offer to our customers. We're aware that the decisions we make impact on local people's lives and we want to give them the opportunity to see how we make those decisions, without them having to come to the council chamber and attend the meetings. We've looked into this and research shows that people prefer 'on demand' services, where they can watch meetings whenever they want to, rather than being tied to viewing it as it happens. That's why we've decided to go with the 'on demand' as our trial, with meetings available for a certain period of time after they are held.'
Thanet Council press release, 15 Dec 2009
And after all that, it didn't work anyway!!!!