The SEDA-Council of Governments will hold a workshop for elected officials and the general public about municipalities' rights and responsibilities in negotiating contracts for cable television service.
Under law, local governments essentially serve as a cable company's landlord.
While cable companies place lines and other equipment in the public right-of-way, municipalities control those rights-of-ways as a public trust and are entitled to benefits in return for the use of property.
Depending on the cable company, some benefits that are available through franchise negotiations include cash grants, free internet service to municipal buildings, enforceable customer service standards, a government access channel and strong right-of-way protections.
According to SEDA-COG, municipal officials simply accept a cable company's offer, when in fact they can negotiate for more.
Potential for increased benefits is greater if municipalities band together to negotiate franchise agreements. Group negotiations give municipalities more bargaining leverage with cable companies.
A workshop will be held at 9 a.m., June 12 at the Lycoming County Water and Sewer Authority, 380 Old Cement Road, Montoursville.
Information will be presented by attorney Dan Cohen, of the Cohen Law Group in Pittsburgh, which has represented nearly 400 municipalities in cable-related matters.
For more information, contact Jim Baker at SEDA-COG at 524-4491 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.