The City of Shakopee has begun discussions with Comcast for extending its cable franchise agreement, which is set to expire in August. The city also has a franchise agreement with CenturyLink through 2021.
What are cable franchise agreements?
Franchise agreements are agreements between a city and a cable TV provider that authorize the cable provider to distribute services within a city. Essentially, a franchise is simply authorization to operate within the city and use city right-of-way for its infrastructure.
Does this mean other companies cannot provide cable services in Shakopee?
No. Cable franchise agreements do not bar new providers from entering the market. State law requires that franchise agreements be nonexclusive. Any company that applies and meets certain terms outlined in state and federal law would be approved.
Why don't more providers come into Shakopee then?
It's hard to know exactly why more cable providers do not enter the Shakopee market. However, it is assumed the cost of a provider's infrastructure build-out may outweigh the profit benefit.
What else does a franchise agreement do?
Franchise agreements also provide the city with government access channels, so cable subscribers can view local public meetings and city/school district/county government content. They ensure a cable provider is providing equitable access across the community, set customer protection requirements and establish fees for the provider's use of city right-of-way.
Still have questions? Contact the city at 952-233-9300 or visit our #AsktheCity feature on the city website.
This story originally appeared in the Summer 2019 Hometown Messenger.