Philly Council ratifies Comcast franchise agreement

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 (From left) Will Dickens, Keidra Goldsmith, Len Glickman, and Hannah Sassaman with Working Families are present during a meeting at which city council votes on whether the city of Philadelphia will make a deal with Comcast. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

(From left) Will Dickens, Keidra Goldsmith, Len Glickman, and Hannah Sassaman with Working Families are present during a meeting at which city council votes on whether the city of Philadelphia will make a deal with Comcast. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

A new 15-year franchise agreement for Comcast cable has won final approval in Philadelphia City Council.

The agreement, which expands Comcast’s $10 per month Internet Essentials program, is a good deal, said City Councilman Bobby Henon.

“A lot of people put a lot of sweat equity, a lot of thought, a lot of time for two and a half years,” he said. “It intensified a lot over the past year, so I am so pleased that it’s done.”

Henon is especially excited that Comcast will build a high-speed data network for all city buildings.

“This is the back end, that’s not sexy, it’s not something … that people can relate to, but it will allow us to expand to the highest speed possible,” he said.

“Philadelphia is our home – and we are delighted with the franchise agreement that has been unanimously approved by City Council, as well as our confirmation of an extraordinary set of voluntary commitments that Comcast has made that will benefit hundreds of thousands of Philadelphians today and for many years to come,” said David L. Cohen, Comcast’s senior executive vice president and chief diversity officer.

Some protesters at the Council session held signs opposing the agreement, and calling for more taxes on the cable and Internet giant. But Lance Haver, Council’s consumer advocate, has called the deal the “best agreement in the country.”

The agreement also provides for more public-access channels and more local job training. 

The deal ensures that “Philadelphians continue to receive best-in-class, leading-edge products and services; improvements to their overall customer experience; and affords the creation of hundreds of new, good-paying jobs and careers that benefit Comcast, our customers, and the City alike,” according to Jim Samaha, a Comcast senior vice president.

 

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