Franchise agreement reached with Charter
Switch may take effect by end of month
After previously authorizing the sale of Covington Cable’s assets, the Covington City Council approved a franchise agreement with Charter Communications at a called meeting Monday night.
The approval of the franchise agreement comes some eight months after the council entered into exclusive contract negotiations with Charter. In its bid to purchase Covington Cable, Charter agreed to pay the city $2,525 for each active cable subscriber which should bring the final sale price to $27,424,025 according to documents from the sale.
Charter will pay the city a quarterly franchise fee equal to 5 percent of gross revenues generated from the franchise according to the agreement.
Covington Cable Interim Director Mark Culbertson said the city’s cable customers could see their service switched to Charter by the end of the month.
Following the closing of the sale the city will transition from providing cable services to regulating them. The city will have authority over right of ways issues, public, educational and government access channels and limited customer service issues according to documents related to the sale.
The term of Charter’s franchise with the city will last ten years. Charter will take over the Covington Cable offices on Pace Street which it will lease from the city. According to the lease agreement, Charter has the right to re-assign the lease to the city after seven years.
According to the franchise agreement, Charter will provide basic cable service and one free outlet to public schools and municipal buildings. The city will receive three access channels on the cable system with one additional access channel reserved for future public, educational or government use. All PEG channels will be carried on the basic service tier and will not require converter boxes for reception.
Charter may not transfer its franchise to another cable provider without the city’s prior approval but an intra-corporate transfer does not require city approval according to the franchise agreement. The city may revoke the franchise if it finds that Charter has engaged in a pattern of noncompliance.
Charter previously agreed to offer employment at the Pace Street office to all of Covington Cable’s approximately 20 employees at a salary level at least equal to their current salary level and benefits.