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Cable franchise hearing

Post Independent Writer

Cable hearingWhen: 6 p.m. ThursdayWhere: Glenwood Springs Council chambers, 101 W. Eighth St., Glenwood Springs.By Dennis WebbPost Independent StaffResidents with some thoughts about the caliber of cable television service in Glenwood Springs might want to put down their remote controls and get to City Hall Thursday.The Glenwood Springs City Council will hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. in council chambers to take public comment on the job being done by Comcast Cable.The city is in the process of negotiating a new franchise agreement with Comcast. The last time Glenwood Springs approved a cable franchise was 20 years ago, City Attorney Karl Hanlon said. That franchise’s ownership has changed hands over the years, and eventually ended up with Comcast.Now the city wants to know how Comcast is doing.”We really want to get people down” for the meeting, Hanlon said.He said the city has heard in the past from cable customers about issues ranging from prices charged to packages offered.”This is an opportunity to talk about that,” Hanlon said. “All of those things are open for discussion, or at least comment.”The city is negotiating a nonexclusive contract with Comcast. That means that other companies could come in to provide service as well.”No other traditional cable company has expressed interest,” Hanlon said. “That’s not to say they won’t.”Hanlon expects interest from other cable companies. Some might focus on certain parts of the market, such as hotels and apartment buildings.The availability of broadband service in Glenwood Springs could provide opportunities to some of those companies, Hanlon said.Hanlon said it was commonplace for cities to negotiate 20-year franchise agreements a few decades ago, when the cable industry was in its infancy. For one thing, the companies were having to invest a lot in getting cable to homes, and needed some assurance of a long-term payback.But with technology changing and providing additional options, the city is likely to negotiate a far-shorter franchise, covering only several years, Hanlon said.He said it will go into effect whenever details are finished, probably in the next four to six months.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. 516dwebb@postindependent.com


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