Trending: BMW ReachNow car-sharing service shuts down in Seattle and Portland following joint venture deal

comcasttruckThe City of Seattle is getting ready to renegotiate its franchise contract with Comcast, the largest cable TV and high-speed Internet provider in town.

So in preparation of the expiration of the contract in 2016, the city wants to hear from you.

It has produced a survey for cable TV and Internet subscribers in the city, asking questions about how satisfied customers are with TV programs, Internet speeds and customer service.

Internet connectivity certainly has been a hot-button issue in Seattle in recent months, especially after the failure of the Gigabit Squared high-speed Internet project. Former City of Seattle CTO Bill Schrier also pointed out why he didn’t think Google Fiber would be coming to Seattle anytime soon, pointing out in a guest post what he described as convoluted regulations and bureaucracy in the city.

Just to set the ground rules, the City doesn’t have the authority to control pricing on cable TV or set minimum Internet speed specifications. The City notes that it does not have the ability to regulate:

1. Cable TV subscriber fees, except for the most basic Limited tier which currently costs approximately $17.90 per month;
2. A la carte cable channels;
3. Internet prices or minimum speeds. Internet services are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC);
4. Telephone services and/or fees. Telephone services are regulated by the State of Washington.

Mayor Ed Murray.
Mayor Ed Murray.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, who took office earlier this year, told GeekWire last month that he’d support a citywide fiber network if the economics could be figured out.

“We need it,” he said of faster Internet. “We’re not as connected and not as fast as we should be, given that this is one of the IT centers of the world.”

In a blog post, Murray also expressed some concerns over Comcast’s planned merger with Time Warner.

“While the City does not have the power to prevent Comcast’s $45 billion purchase of Time Warner, we can take steps to make sure competition is stronger in Seattle,” Murray wrote. “One step will be to evaluate our City’s relationship with Comcast.”

Here’s the KIRO report, which notes that Comcast pays 5 percent of its gross cable revenue to the city, plus a utility tax. Public meetings are also planned for later this year to discuss the contract with Comcast.

City of Seattle residents are asked to fill out the survey before May 31.

Editor’s note: Comcast Business is a GeekWire sponsor.


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