MLT City Council to hold public hearing Monday on proposed Comcast franchise

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Comcast truckThe Mountlake Terrace City Council will conduct a public hearing concerning a proposed Comcast franchise agreement as part of its Monday, March 17 regular meeting beginning at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Interim City Hall, 6100-219th St. S.W., Suite 220.

In 2004, the City of Mountlake Terrace granted a 10-year franchise to Comcast, allowing the company to run cable conduit along the public right-of-way. With that agreement set to expire at the end of June, Comcast is seeking a new five-year franchise with the city.
As ordered by federal law, the city cannot prohibit a franchisee from using the right-of-way, but can set reasonable rules and standards. A jurisdiction can also identify customer service standards, set the rate for the franchisee’s basic tier of cable service, and require a cable channel to provide for public, government and education (PEG) programming. The city cannot dictate what channels the franchisee carries or the tiers that a cable business sets.

Federal law does call for the city to solicit public input into the franchisee’s performance over the terms of the previous agreement and use that information when evaluating a new franchise.

According to city officials, the highlights of the new proposed franchise agreement include a five-year term with one five-year renewal, suspends the collection of monthly PEG fees, changes the PEG element to Educational and Governmental (EG), and changes language relating to a Comcast-built, city-used network (I-Net).

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