The City of Nashua is reviewing the existing franchise agreement with Comcast. The new agreement is due for renewal and part of this effort requires input from the citizens of Nashua.
What is a Cable Franchise Agreement?
Under federal law, Comcast must have a franchise agreement with the City of Nashua (known in the document as a “local franchising authority”) to operate its cable system. Franchise agreements allow companies to operate a cable system in the public rights-of-way in return for certain benefits to the City. Under the agreement, the city is allowed to operate an agreed upon number of access channels as a public service. However, the city may not set Cable TV rates or impose channel requirements.. (FCC47.USC521, Sec 601)
What is a Franchise Fee?
The cable television franchise fee is an annual fee charged by the City of Nashua to Comcast as compensation for using public property the city owns as right-of-way for its cable. The franchise fee is set during negotiations of the franchise agreement, and the agreement lasts for a set number of years decided at the time of negotiations. Franchise fees are governed under section 622 of the 1984 Cable Communications Act. The City currently receives 4% of Comcast’s gross cable television revenue that comes from the operation of the cable television services, including the above mentioned Public, Education, and Government access channels. These channels are referred to by the acronym PEG.
It is important to understand that the Franchise Agreement only covers cable television services and facilities (FCC47.USC544, Sec 624). When the Cable act was written in 1984, the internet didn’t exist. And when it was updated in 1992, and 1996 the internet was still in it’s infancy.
What is your Opinion?
Under federal regulations, as part of franchise renewal formal process, the City is encouraged to seek input as to the needs of the community for cable television service. To that end, the City of Nashua is seeking your opinion regarding your present cable television service provider during the ascertainment phase of the renewal process.
Please take the time to complete the survey so that the City can better understand the needs of the community as we consider renewing Comcast’s franchise. The deadline to submit a survey response is June 13, 2021 at midnight.
If you have questions about how the federal rules for cable providers and franchising system works, more information is available at the Federal Communications Commission Web site at https://www.fcc.gov/media/engineering/cable-television or you can call 1-888-225-5322.
Thank you for taking the time to provide the City of Nashua with your views about this important matter.
Please NOTE: Survey will end June 13th 2021 at midnight. Questionnaires must be submitted by that date to be included.