Fran­chise agree­ment reached with Char­ter

Switch may take ef­fect by end of month

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - By Rachel Oswald

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.

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