PA: State could take over local cable franchise agreements

Posted on September 1, 2007 - 8:22am.

from: Morning Times

Athens Township: State could take over local cable franchise agreements

By WARREN HOWELER Times Managing Editor
Published: Thursday, August 30, 2007 10:52 PM CDT
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ATHENS TOWNSHIP - The Athens Township Supervisors this week approved a 10 year renewal of the municipality's franchise agreement with Time Warner Cable and it could end up being the last such agreement that the township has with its local cable company.

That's because Pennsylvania lawmakers are currently looking at implementing legislation that would bring those local franchises under the control of the commonwealth, according to David Whalen, vice president of Time Warner Cable's public and government relations.

Several states within the country - such as Texas, Ohio, California, Illinois and Indiana - have already passed statewide cable franchise legislation and New York is currently looking at such legislation as well, said Whalen.

“We expect that within the next year or two, there will be statewide franchise in Pennsylvania,” he said. “That will circumvent all the local franchises. All the local franchises will go away. You will have one franchise with the state. The state will then dictate what those terms will be that they want to operate under.”

The township's current franchise agreement brings in $40,000 in revenue each year during the course of that agreement. That funding currently goes to the numerous township parks.

What has concerned local municipalities is that if this legislation is adopted, they will lose their ability to provide input into aspects of the franchise agreement, including franchise fees and line service policies, said Whalen.

“The state is going to try to be cognizant of that fact and make sure that there are franchise fees,” he said.

Supervisor Jack Walter said he will contact the Pennsylvania State Association of Townships - on behalf of Athens Township - to request that PSATS officials lobby to get the local municipalities the opportunity to have input in how these franchise fees will be set up if there is a statewide franchise.

The next meeting of the Athens Township Supervisors will be held at 7 p.m. Sept. 26 at the township municipal building on Herrick Avenue. The public is invited to attend.


Warren Howeler can be reached at

( categories: PENNSYLVANIA | State Franchises )