Cable Franchise Information
What is a Cable Franchise?
Cable television is regulated through federal and state law, along with a 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.
Who has a Cable Franchise?
Comcast: Granted cable franchise on Jan. 25, 2000. Expired Aug. 31, 2017. [Download PDF - 32MB] *Per Federal law, Comcast will continue to operate under the terms of the expired franchise until renewed.
Frontier: Granted cable franchise on Sept. 6, 2016. Expires Sept. 6, 2021. [Download PDF - 3.7MB]
What does the City get from this agreement?
As part of the current franchise agreements, the City currently receives benefits from the cable company that include:
- Six 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 fiber to help connect government and education facilities to video and data services.
- PEG Fees -- used toward public, education and government television.
- Franchise Fees -- currently 5% of video-related gross revenue. 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?
Burnsville's franchises provide 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.
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 an escalated complaint process that can be initiated with Comcast and Frontier.
Please submit a request online to start the process.