Charter cable TV, city may reach agreement soon
Carson City’s cable television and high-speed Internet provider has been hanging onto its franchise to operate month by month since 2002 as negotiations with city officials continue. Both sides are expecting a final agreement to be reached soon, officials said Thursday.
Charter Communications, based in St. Louis, charges customers a 5 percent fee on monthly bills to pay the city for its franchise. The fee, capped by federal regulations, and services will remain until an agreement is reached.
“It basically gives us the chance to work with the city to iron out all the issues while we attain the renewal,” said Donna Lupkey, company government relations administrator.
Cable company representatives have met three times with city officials, but have not decided on terms to sign a new contract. The last contract expired in July 2002. Since then, the company has remained on a month-to-month extension of the old contract.
The amount Charter pays the city to operate is not part of the negotiations, Lupkey said. On the table are issues about customer service, assistance to the city with public-access channels and cable equipment, and operation of a Carson City office.
In the meantime, Carson has not lagged in the latest channels and technology.
“We have upgraded the system to keep it so they’re not being left behind,” Lupkey said.
Carson and Douglas County receive the same high-speed Internet connections and cable service as Reno.
The company also plans to reopen a Carson office it closed a year ago, Lupkey said.
City Manager Linda Ritter said the city and Charter continue to negotiate.
“We’re really exchanging quite a bit of information back and forth about what’s available, what’s possible,” Ritter said. “We’re researching what we need for cable access television to enhance that service to the public.”
Charter Communications purchased AT&T Broadband’s service in Northern Nevada in 2001 for $1.79 billion in assets, stocks and cash. The city controls the cable TV license and operates public-access stations 10 and 26.
Contact Jill Lufrano at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1217.