Posted by Henon Staff on December 03, 2015 at 5:33 PM
15-Year Agreement Goes to Full City Council Next Week
(Philadelphia) - The City Council Committee on Public Property and Public Works, today, reported bill 150809 with a favorable recommendation. The Comcast Franchise Agreement will now go to the full Council for a vote from the final passage calendar next Thursday.
"Getting here was not easy and the work is not done - but we are close," said Councilman Bobby Henon, Chair of the Committee on Public Property and Public Works. "Although the agreement is not perfect, the Committee worked diligently and tirelessly to ensure that the citizens of Philadelphia are treated fairly in extending Comcast the right to use the streets of Philadelphia to provide cable services. In doing so, we helped shape an agreement that will be a model for cities across the country."
Here are some of the major highlights of the agreement:
- Council obtained a commitment to increase PEG (Public Educational and Government channels) support from $8 million to $21.3 million. This is an additional $13.3 million, with $2.3 million added just this past week.
- Comcast will provide no less than $10 million in capital investment to upgrade the City’s Institutional Network and then provide managed services over that network resulting in millions of dollars of savings over the life of the agreement.
- Comcast has agreed to engage with our school district to develop a CTE program with a target of 100 employment offers. This is a win-win situation. Comcast can ensure that it has a viable workforce for the future and young Philadelphians can begin a career path following high school graduation.
The most significant achievements are the result of the collective effort to tackle Philadelphia’s digital divide. As a result of the hard work of the members of Council:
- Comcast will offer, at no cost to the City, free Internet and video services to hundreds of public institutions where Philadelphians without computers can access the Internet.
- Comcast has opened its Internet Essentials program to low income seniors and to low income Philadelphians without school age children by means of creating a subsidy to underwrite their participation. Over the next five years Comcast will commit no less than $1.25 million and as much as $2.7 million in support for these programs.
- Comcast will provide a half million dollars in seed funds for a digital literacy fund that the City can use to leverage other corporate and philanthropic contributions;
- Comcast has agreed to “Philly First” language – meaning Comcast will not roll out any Internet Essentials pilot or model anywhere in the country before they roll is out here in Philadelphia; and
- Finally, Comcast has agreed to a special arrangement here in Philadelphia where dedicated funds will be used to forgive the requirement that an existing low-income customer must disconnect their service for 90-days to be eligible to enroll in the Internet Essentials.