Monday, March 14, 2016

Time Warner Cable Franchise Contract on Front Burner for 2016.

The Time Warner Cable Franchise Agreement will expire in March of 2017. Negotiations have been progressing as expeditiously as possible, at least from our side, but the TWC people have not been particularly responsive.
Time Warner Cable for the month of December 2015 had 3,069 subscribers in Moultonboro. It peaked at 3,146 in August, which is understandable considering the influx of summer residents. Time Warner revenue from Moultonboro peaked in June with $160,918 and the low was $83,468 in January. The current contract has a 2% franchise fee.  Franchise fees are governed under Section 622 of the Cable Communications Act of 1984. Section 622, states that municipalities are entitled to a maximum of 5% of gross revenues derived from the operation of the cable system for the provision of cable services such as Public, educational, and government access (PEG) TV channels.. For 2015, the total franchise fee payment was $29,580.63. During the budget process, $27,500 of that revenue was placed in the Communication Technology Capital Reserve Fund, created in 2007, to promote development of communications infrastructure to underdeveloped parts of town. $215,942.51 was the balance in the fund at the end of 2015. The BoS agreed with the TA recommendation  to place the same amount into the Communication Technology Fund as in 2015, as the  the finalization of the new contract continues.

The Broadband Working Group formed in 2014  wrote that "Adopted by the town in 2007, the Communications Technology Capital Reserve fund, is unique, and other towns are looking for follow-on information about how it is being used. This fund is intended to promote development of communications infrastructure to underserved areas of town, and is a perfect source of money to expand broadband."

The first and to date only withdrawal from fund occurred in 2015. Fairpoint made a proposal to connect or increase the speed to approximately 60 homes in the Brick Kiln area and the Heron Pond area.On September 10th 2015, the BoS approved the expenditure from the Communication Technology fund to not exceed $37,500 for the Brick Kiln area and $6,000 for the Heron Pond area, for a total of $43,500 to fund the Fairpoint proposal. 
At the time it was expected that Fairpoint would provide a proposal for the Sheridan and Sachem Road areas expected to be less than the $75,000. I am not sure of the status of that proposal, but I do know that the homes in that area do not have access to Time Warner Cable or DSL. Some use Lakes Region Wireless which advertises " high speed" access, but offers 500k to 4M ( depending on location) using RF transceivers for areas of town that do not have access to DSL or cable. The speeds offered are  "not intended for VOIP, sling boxes or other high demand devices due to consideration of other customers on the network." Achieving a goal of 100% access to quality internet access ( not necessarily true broadband, but enough to work efficiently from home)  should be high on our list of marketing priorities. 

The BroadBand Working Group presented it's report to the BoS on December 18th, 2014  and the BoS approved the recommendations they made. 

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