Who is the Centre Area Cable Consortium?
The Centre Area Cable Consortium (CACC) was organized in 2004 with the purpose of negotiating a regional cable franchise. It includes the following municipalities – the Boroughs of Bellefonte and State College and the Townships of Benner, College, Ferguson, Halfmoon, Harris and Patton. The CACC Board is comprised of one elected official from each of the eight member municipalities. The costs for negotiating the cable franchise are split among the eight members by the percentage of Comcast subscribers in each municipality.
When was the last franchise adopted?
The last franchise was adopted in 2008. It was the first franchise with Comcast, who purchased the cable system from Adelphia after that company declared bankruptcy.
Why isn’t there competition in the area?
Comcast holds a franchise in all eight municipalities. Windstream holds a cable franchise in State College Borough and College and Ferguson Townships.
We are not opposed to having other cable companies serve our area. They would have to negotiate a franchise, similar to what both Comcast and Windstream have done. To date, we have not received interest from any other providers.
What items can be negotiated?
Under federal law, we are allowed to negotiate customer service standards, density and build out requirements, technical requirements for the cable system, use of our rights of way and provisions for public, educational and governmental access channels. We are not permitted to negotiate pricing structures. We are also not allowed to negotiate internet or phone service.
What are Public, Educational and Governmental Access Channels?
We are allowed under federal law to have access channels. C-Net is our educational (channel 98) and our governmental (channel 7) access channels. We have language in our franchise that provides for technical provisions for C-Net. C-Net also received a capital grant from Comcast the last time the franchise was negotiated.
We currently do not have a public access channel, though there is language the permits the addition of a third public, educational or governmental access channel when a programming threshold is met. There was interest in public access in 2008, but that interest has largely waned over the last 10 years.
Who oversees Comcast’s performance?
The CACC does have a provision that allows for a bi-annual review of the cable franchise in its current agreement. The last bi-annual review was completed in 2011. We did not identify any deficiencies with Comcast or its performance under the franchise.
What is the timeline for negotiations?
The CACC is in the beginning of the franchise negotiation process. Comments from the public hearing will be gathered and considered as we begin the process. We hope to have a new franchise in place by mid summer.
Can I submit additional comments after the hearing?
Written comments can be submitted by email to [email protected] or mailed to Amy Farkas, Harris Township, 224 East Main Street, Boalsburg, PA 16827, until March 12th.