BROOKLINE, MA — The local cable access channel, the Brookline Interactive Group, has more capacity to broadcast public meetings and other community events, thanks to an upgraded fiber connection it has received from RCN Boston, a leading broadband and fiber provider, BIG announced Thursday.
Brookline Interactive covers municipal meetings from Brookline Select Board to school committee, the Brookline Public Health Department and Health Advisory Committee, to virtual town hall meetings and records other types of community groups, which have all been forced to meet remotely since the coronavirus pandemic began. BIG helps stream them live and for the more major meetings, posts them to the website. But until now there has been limited capacity, and that has meant the possibility for glitches.
“The coronavirus crisis has resulted in new and growing interest in local cable access channels to watch town meetings and other events produced by our community,” Kathy Bisbee, BIG executive director said in a statement. “With RCN’s help, we were able to increase the fiber connection so that our viewers can have relevant, timely and high-quality programming during this time when communication is more critical than ever before."
As part of its agreement with Brookline, RCN also has constructed and provides an Institutional Network (INET) to the town of Brookline which is a dedicated secure fiber connection for municipal government including the schools and the police and fire departments. With a better connection in place, the locally-based television channel has been able to do more.
“BIG’s role is to provide a platform and facilitate a dialogue about the civic process that members of the community won’t get anywhere else,” said Bisbee.
Brookline Interactive's coverage of Sunday mass from St. Mary’s Church of the Assumption Parish in Brookline, morning services from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, and from Temple Ohabei Shalom’s Friday Shabbat services in Brookline are now shared directly to the cable channels and live on YouTube.
In a news release, Bisbee said that recently added community programming has included mask-making tutorials, sewing classes, storytelling for children, yoga, and Craft-Alongs from the staff of the Public Libraries of Brookline, workout sessions, meditation programs and weekly Rotary meetings.
All of BIG’s programming can be found online, at their website and is viewable on Youtube and via Facebook. Residents can find community resources, take BIG’s new online classes, and learn how to create and upload their own stories and community content at BIG’s COVID-19 page.
"RCN is committed to providing the town of Brookline with the tools that it needs to communicate with residents through the local cable access channel operated by the Brookline Interactive Group,” said Jeff Carlson, senior vice president and general manager of RCN Boston. “During this difficult time for all, we understood the importance of getting the new fiber to BIG as soon as possible so that it could carry out its responsibilities to the citizens of Brookline.”