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City, Antietam Cable begin work on renewing franchise agreement

March 26, 2012

Hagerstown and Antietam Cable have agreed in writing to begin formal renewal proceedings required of the contract between the two entities, city officials said last week.

The current nonexclusive franchise agreement, which allows Antietam Cable the right of way for cabling throughout the city, expires Nov. 1, 2013.

In return, the city receives franchise fees and use of certain channels, city Community Affairs Manager Karen Giffin said.

Giffin and Scott Nicewarner, the city’s director of Technology and Support Services, discussed the renewal at a Hagerstown City Council meeting Tuesday.

The process includes subscriber surveys, needs assessments, focus groups, interviews, public hearing, a past performance review, a franchise fee audit, technical evaluation and an I-Net evaluation — all information to assist the mayor and council in making any necessary decision regarding the agreement.

The city currently receives a 5 percent franchise fee of the cable company’s gross revenues throughout the duration of the agreement. The city also will receive a portion of PEG fees — which are for public, education or governmental use — charged by Antietam Cable.

The city will meet with the cable company later this month to finalize a timetable for the necessary steps for franchise renewal.

Antietam Cable is owned by Schurz Communications Inc., which also ownsTheHerald-Mail.

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— C.J. Lovelace

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