September 13, 2014

We Need Answers about Comcast’s Illinois State Franchise

The City of Chicago has regulated cable companies that do business here from the inception of cable in Chicago.  That has resulted in public benefits and consumer protections in exchange for cable company use of public land.  That changed on August 29 when Comcast officially filed for an Illinois state cable franchise in four out of five of Chicago’s cable areas.  As a result of that change, the City of Chicago will lose its oversight of Chicago’s biggest cable company.  What will this mean for Chicago’s Comcast customers, and for local residents that rely on Chicago’s public access channels at CAN TV? Committee for Media Access (CMA) has requested that the City hold public hearings to give residents an opportunity to get some answers about Comcast’s decision to abandon its City franchise and move that authority to Springfield.   

Our Questions about Comcast’s Move to a State Franchise
  • The City’s local franchise prevents redlining but state law doesn’t. What can the City do to make sure redlining is prevented through a state franchise?
  • The City’s local franchise protects consumers. Under a state franchise, how will the City maintain and enforce consumer protections?
  • Will Comcast continue to participate in the City’s Cable Compliance Reviews?
  • Where will the public go if it has complaints about Comcast? 
  • The City’s local franchise safeguards CAN TV funding.  How will the City make sure CAN TV’s funding is protected in a state franchise?
  • We have consistently said that it is important that that CAN TV’s funding be direct and unrestricted to preserve CAN TV’s financial security. How will state franchise funding for CAN TV be paid?
  • The RCN franchise is for 10 years.  The state law has to be renewed in 2015, what then?
  • Comcast says they plan to fully fund CAN TV, but with the law expiring in 2015, what will the City do to ensure that CAN TV’s funding remains secure?

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