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Sussex Countian
  • Millsboro considers renewal of Mediacom franchise agreement

  • Millsboro’s existing 15-year franchise agreement with cable provider Mediacom is at its end, and a renewed agreement is under consideration.
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  • Millsboro’s existing 15-year franchise agreement with cable provider Mediacom is at its end, and a renewed agreement is under consideration.
    Assistant Town Manager Matt Schifano said prior to the agreement’s finalization, the town’s Mediacom Franchise Committee met with the company to ensure everything was up to date.
    “The town has grown over the last 15 years, so we wanted to make sure we’re capturing any new properties within town limits,” Schifano said at Monday’s Town Council meeting. “We also verified everything was on the up and up in terms of [how much money] Mediacom is passing to us through our franchise agreement.”
    According to the Federal Communications Commission, a cable franchise agreement provides the franchisees, or the cable companies, the right to construct, install, maintain, and operate a cable system on public rights of way in a specific geographical area. In return, the franchisee provides cable to area residents, and pays a franchise fee to the municipality for the right to access its public rights of way.
    Town Solicitor Mary Schrider-Fox said the old and new agreements are essentially the same.
    By law, Schrider-Fox said, the town must provide public notice of the agreement’s renewal before it is approved by the council. However, rather than hold a public hearing, Schrider-Fox suggested advertising in a local newspaper to inform the public the documents are available for review in Town Hall, and comments can be submitted onsite or via mail. This way, the council can avoid holding a public hearing where residents who are unhappy with their cable service voice their frustrations.
    “Sometimes people respond with service-related comments, which don’t directly relate to the franchise agreement,” she said. “If nothing else, the town can act as a facilitator and forward those comments to Mediacom.”
    Schifano said the old and new agreements will be available for public review beginning June 10, during normal business hours. After the public has reviewed the documents and all comments are addressed, the new agreement will return to the council for a vote.

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