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Cable Franchise Information
It's Not Just About TV anymore!
What is your vision for local media in Burnsville -- now, and for the next ten years?

The City of Burnsville has gathered public input through a series of focus groups (Feb. 26-28, 2013) and an online survey (March 1-31, 2013) on the future of cable service, community media and technology related to its upcoming cable franchise renewal discussions with Comcast Cable. 
                                                                                          
While both the Focus Groups and Community Survey are closed, you can still provide your ideas and questions about Burnsville's cable service and technology resources for our community. (Information Below)

What is a Cable Franchise?
Cable television is regulated through federal and state law, along with the local franchise the City of Burnsville holds with the cable provider. This franchise agreement allows the company to operate cable television and internet systems in the City, and run cable on and through City-owned right-of-way. The City’s current 15-year franchise was accepted on Jan. 24, 2000 by Comcast’s predecessor, meaning the current franchise expires in January 2015. 

What does the City get from this agreement?
As part of the current franchise agreement, the City currently receives benefits from the cable company that include:

  • Six (6) channels in the Comcast cable tier to use for Public, Education and Government (PEG) television programming. (Channels 14, 15, 16, 18, 19 and 20)
  • Dedicated “dark fiber” to help connect government and education facilities to video and data services.
  • PEG Fees -- currently $1.89 per Comcast subscriber. PEG fees, which are required to be used toward public, education and government television programming, result in in approximately $300,000 revenue for the City annually. 
  • Franchise Fees -- currently five percent of Comcast video-related gross revenue. The City has more leeway with the spending of Franchise Fees, which result in approximately $660,000 in revenue for the City annually. These funds are used:
    • To pay for communications-related items including the Burnsville Bulletin, website hosting fees, software and online-services used by the City, Communications Department staff and other print, digital and multi-media communication tools. Of this amount:
    • $185,000 is transferred to the City’s General Fund annually.
    • The remainder is allocated to the City’s dedicated Cable Franchise Fee Fund.

How does this impact me? How can I get involved?
Burnsville's franchise with Comcast Cable provides a number of benefits to the City and community, including revenue to proactively and transparently communicate with residents and business owners; local public, government and educational access television programming and programming opportunities; a community television studio/media center open to Burnsville residents and community organizations; affordable internet connectivity for government and school facilities; and more.

Opportunities for public input include:

Can the City control cable rates under the franchise?
The City Council has no authority over rate regulation. A change in federal law some years ago removed the City's authority to regulate the basic rate charged to residents for cable service. In addition, a petition to the Federal Communications Commission by Comcast (that was accepted in 2011) removed the City's authority to regulate rates for cable television equipment. 

While the franchise provides residents with protection of the public right-of-way, and a number of other community benefits, the current regulatory climate does not provide rate increase protection. It is left to competition in the marketplace to help dictate those rates.

The City does have a complaint process that can be initiated with Comcast. Please submit a request online to start the process.


Related Links:

Comcast Customer Service


Help Center