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Charter Cable deal renewed, $12,000 grant part of deal

By Staff
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
A new 10-year franchise agreement between Charter Communications and the city of Hartselle went into effect recently following a lengthy negotiation process. The prior franchise expired in 2004 and a consulting firm was contracted in an effort to get Charter to agree to terms more favorable to the city.
One of the concessions Charter made was to grant the city $12,000 for a government access channel and agree to provide a transmission link between city hall and Charter's head end facility. The money will be used to purchase the equipment needed to set up a local video transmission station.
Other new terms favorable to the city included the application of a 5 percent franchise fee to Charter's total gross revenue, including late payment charges to its customers, and quarterly instead of annual franchise fee payments. A $25,000 performance bond has also been added.
The city will continue to receive free cable service at city hall, police department, fire department and public schools.
Terms dealing with rates and services as they apply to customers remain unchanged.
"I'm glad the negotiations are over and we have a franchise that's more favorable to the city and its residents than the one we had before. It's a step in the right direction," Mayor Dwight Tankersley said.
"Having our own public access channel is definitely a plus," he added. "It has virtually unlimited potential. We should be able to use it in the short term to get out all kinds of information to the public. Plus, it has the potential of getting community and sports events on television either live or in a taped delay."
Shawn Woods, systems administrator, said he will begin a screening process to locate and get prices on equipment needed to set up the public access channel early next year.