Philadelphia, December 22, 2015– Mayor Michael A. Nutter signed legislation for the new 15-year Comcast cable television franchise agreement.
“When we began this process two years ago, we wanted an agreement that was good for the residents of Philadelphia, for the City government and for Comcast. This legislation ensures that internet accessibility and adoption is easier – no matter your age or income level, that customers receive improved service and that the City will be able to do more business online in the coming years. It also creates new jobs and supports public, educational and government access channels,” said Mayor Nutter. “I want to thank City Council, Council President Clarke, Councilman Henon and the members for their careful consideration and dedicated efforts on this legislation. I also want to thank Comcast for being a great partner in this process and in many others as one of our leading corporate citizens.”
The legislation includes enhanced customer service standards and performance requirements, reduced rate discounts for low-income seniors, increased internet access for qualifying seniors and low-income Philadelphians and improved funding and capacity for public, educational and government access channels.
“Our goal with the franchise renewal agreement was simple: ensure that Philadelphians have their current and future cable-related needs, including internet access and great customer service, met” said Councilman Bobby Henon, sponsor of the bill. “With this agreement, Comcast is putting Philadelphians first, committing to programs that support seniors and low-income residents in joining the online world and helping to secure a better quality of life for all Philadelphians.”
The new franchise agreement provides:
- Close to a $400 million investment by Comcast over the next 15 years to enhance customer service standards, cable system remediation, franchise fee payments, commitment to public access programming and a multi-million dollar investment to bridge digital divide.
- A much needed high-speed data network connecting more than 225 municipal buildings and remote sites to enable government agencies to deliver faster, more reliable and convenient services to customers, residents and visitors. This is a critical anchor for government to modernize communications and service delivery across Philadelphia.
- Several programs to connect thousands of low-income households and low-income seniors to the Internet, through Comcast’s Internet Essentials. These investments also recognize that access to the Internet alone does not guarantee adoption. The programs include a comprehensive approach to digital literacy, access to low-cost equipment and seed funding for a digital literacy alliance to incentivize more stakeholders to address the digital divide.
In addition to the cable television franchise renewal, Comcast will launch a virtual customer care agent program in Philadelphia that will result in the hiring of 150 to 200 city residents to work as customer care employees from their homes.
“Today’s official signing of a renewed franchise agreement – together with the supplemental commitments we made – reflect our unique relationship to our hometown,“ said Jim Samaha, regional senior vice president of Comcast’s Freedom Region. “It is an honor to lead the region and employees who serve the customers and businesses in our headquarter city, and we look forward to continuing to deliver best-in-class products and services and customer experience improvements. We are proud that our commitments will also continue to create hundreds of good-paying jobs and careers, and will further help bridge the digital divide for even more Philadelphians. We are grateful for the partnership and support of Mayor Nutter, his administration, Councilman Henon, Council President Clarke and all of City Council, and are delighted that this significant agreement was reached unanimously.”