April 8 Commission Meeting
MACC and Comcast were unable to reach agreement on a new, negotiated Franchise Agreement in 2013 after more than 30 negotiations sessions. MACC opted to enter into the alternative Formal Franchise Renewal process in November, and the parties agreed to extend the current Franchise through 2014.
The Formal process will benefit the community by implementing renewal goals based on the documented needs and interests of the MACC community.
The MACC Commission will meet on April 8 to consider whether to issue a Request for Formal Renewal Proposals (“RFRP”) -- the second stage in the Formal renewal process. Then, Comcast must submit a renewal proposal in response to MACC’s RFRP. If Comcast submits a timely and proper response, MACC has four months to evaluate the proposal and decide whether to grant renewal based on the proposal or to preliminarily deny renewal. Additional proceedings are needed if the proposal is denied.
Resolution 2014-01 includes the Formal Needs Assessment Report
[Exhibit A-B , Exhibit C - G], which documents the findings of MACC’s detailed and comprehensive needs assessment process. The Formal Needs Assessment Report also incorporates the RFRP
[RFRP , Attachment 1], which details the material Comcast must include in any proposal submitted in response to the RFRP.
By adopting Resolution 2014-01, MACC will close the ascertainment of cable-related needs and interests and the review of the past performance of Comcast, adopt the findings of the Formal Needs Assessment Report, and direct the MACC Administrator to forward to Comcast the Formal Needs Assessment Report and RFRP. The Resolution establishes a July 7, 2014 deadline for Comcast to submit a response.
Comcast announced on August 21, 2013 that it will raise programming prices in the Portland area, including the area regulated by the Metropolitan Area Communications Commission (MACC) beginning on October 1. In general, Comcast’s new increase ranges between $3.00 and $4.00 per month (a range of 4% to 4½%).
This is Comcast’s second rate increase of the year. In July, the company raised the rates of its least expensive tier of channels, Limited Basic, up to 10% in unregulated portions of the metro area.
At nearly the same time, Comcast (on July 23, 2013) filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission asking for relief from certain rate regulation because of “effective competition.” An effective competition designation will free Comcast from offering the Limited Basic tier as part of any other tier and, more impactful, clear the way for Comcast to raise the cost of the Limited Basic tier.
Local rate regulation would be eliminated if the FCC grants Comcast’s petition.