New Brighton approves ordinance establishing renewed Comcast Cable franchise

The New Brighton City Council on Sept. 26 unanimously approved an ordinance establishing a renewed cable television franchise amendment.

The current cable franchise between Comcast and the city of New Brighton was granted in 1998 for a 15- year term. In 2011, the North Suburban Communications Commission (NSCC) began initial informal negotiations but did not come to an agreement and led to the parties following the formal cable franchise renewal process set forth in federal law.

The current cable franchise was used as a base document for the new agreement.
Highlights of the agreement include:

• The cable franchise will be extended through Jan. 1, 2028. This will allow the city to avoid the costs of a renewal process for several years, allowing it to focus its resources on other city needs.

• A 5 percent franchise fee will be paid to each Member City.

• Current PEG Grant Funding pursuant to 1994 MOU remains in place through December 31, 2017. Maintaining current funding through year-end will allow NSCC to budget for 2018 using the new PEG funding that starts in 2018.

• Starting January 1, 2018, Comcast will pay a 3 percent PEG Capital Fee. This will allow PEG funding to continue to be used for capital and operational purposes. Comcast allowed to recover a claimed PEG funding underrecovery through a .5% PEG Fee through December 31, 2019.

• The city will receive six SD PEG (public, educational and government) channels, plus 2 HD PEG channels. One additional HD PEG channel (3rd HD Channel) will be added 60 months after the effective date. Comcast may simulcast all PEG channels in HD. If an HD PEG channel is programmed differently, Comcast would have no additional obligation to provide an SD simulcast of that channel. PEG channels will be available to all subscribers regardless of tier of service.

• The city will receive seven boxes per City Hall and three boxes at other locations. Comcast will provide equipment to allow for remote cablecasting using the Comcast public internet. Service in public buildings will be complimentary.

• Comcast will provide indemnification from any litigation arising from the passage of the Franchise for a period of 6 months following the Effective Date of the Franchise.

• For purposes of calculating amounts retained and owed under the Franchise, Comcast estimates that it will recover an additional $130,000.00 through May 31, 2019, and that the NSAC shall be paid per NSAC

The Sponsorship Agreement will provide an additional $76,000 through December 31, 2019.

“This has been going on since 2010,” said Council Member Mary Burg. “I was on the commission at that time…and I am glad that we are finally coming to see this get completed.”

For the complete agreement, visit http://www.newbrightonmn.gov/about/city-council/materials-and-media/

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