Cable commission is in the early stages of renewing its franchise agreement in Farmington
In 2014 the cooperative agreement that makes cable television available through Charter Communications to Rosemount, Farmington and Apple Valley residents will run out. The three cities have begun the contract renewal process and as such are asking residents to fill out an online survey.
Cable coordinator Mark Moore said the survey will help determine the future cable needs of people. The survey gives residents the chance to offer their input on Charter's TV service as well as local programming, which is offered by the cities and school districts 192 and 196. Local programming includes live telecasts and recorded versions of city council and planning commission meetings on Channel 22. Additionally, nonprofits and civic groups can request announcements be posted on Channel 12.
The survey will be available for residents to take online until Dec. 9. There is a link to the survey available through each city's website. The survey is not scientific but will provide some general idea about resident opinions.
"It will give us an idea what people are thinking about," said Moore.
The three cities have had a cooperative agreement with Charter since 1999. Moore said the company serves about 20,000 customers among the three cities. The three cities will work cooperatively again to renew a franchise agreement with Charter.
The specifics of a possible agreement are largely unknown at this point. Moore said the market and technology have changed considerably since the three cities last signed a franchise agreement. While he's not sure how those changes will affect the negotiations, he said he thinks they will factor into the process.
"There's a lot more options for people and more competition out there," said Moore.
Currently franchising is required by law. In Minnesota the practice is done at a local level. Moore said because cable companies use public right of way, they are required to hold franchise agreements to do business.
To take the survey, visit ci.farmington.mn.us.