Most people recognize and have become very familiar with the HOMTV Government Access Channel and understand that the Meridian Township Communications Department provides information to residents through multiple platforms including social, web, print, and television. What people may not know and Meridian is fortunate to have; a person on our team with the expertise to oversee agreements with telecommunications companies. Having Communications Director Deborah Guthrie and the Meridian Cable Communications Commission leading efforts for the transfer agreement with Comcast has proven a mutual benefit for township residents and Comcast subscribers.
Since last July, Meridian Township has worked diligently on a request by Comcast for approval of a transfer of its cable franchise with the Township to GreatLand Communications. We conducted a financial review of the Comcast – GreatLand Transaction in conjunction with other Midwest communities and this week, came to mutual terms on a binding agreement with Comcast and GreatLand that the Meridian Board of Trustees approved on Tuesday, February 17, 2015.
Protecting subscribers and schools was the top priority for the Meridian Township Board in reviewing the transfer. We set out to ensure that the transfer did not harm the residents, schools, or the PEG channels in any way. It not only protects the residents from any rate increases due to the transfer, but it also preserves all PEG provisions in the Comcast franchise agreement through the end of the current franchise.
The agreement provides continued free cable service to Haslett and Okemos Public School Buildings, Haslett and Okemos Public Libraries, the Meridian Township Police Administration building, Fire Central Command Station, and the Meridian Municipal Building. PEG channels that provide programming in Meridian Township will not be charged to send their studio signal to Comcast and they are guaranteed that franchise fees will not be reduced or offset for any transport or interconnection costs. Subscribers in Meridian Township will continue to be able to have a point of contact in Meridian to handle any ongoing cable disputes. In addition, Comcast agreed to pay some of the Township’s costs in reviewing and negotiating this transfer agreement. No other community in Michigan has these signed provisions in place.
These guarantees set Meridian Township apart from many of our neighboring communities and further strengthens the relationship we have with the current provider and any future provider entering the township. We thank Comcast for their steadfast work with us on this. As we enter into a Comcast franchise renewal this Spring and Summer, we are fortunate to have great leadership in place.