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Worcester Committee Recommends Denial of Spectrum TV Renewal

By Tom Marino | March 13, 2024
Last Updated: March 18, 2024

WORCESTER – The Cable Television Advisory Committee held a vote during its meeting on Tuesday, March 12, to recommend City Manager Eric Batista not renew the city’s cable television contract with Spectrum. All five members present at the meeting voted to approve the recommendation.

The committee also voted to submit its written recommendations to the Batista.

The work of the committee, and its monthly meetings, are now suspended until Batista accepts or rejects the committee’s recommendation. Batista makes the final decision on renewing the contract.

Should Batista accept the committee recommendations, cable service will not be interrupted for city residents. It also does not mean Charter will not provide cable services in the city in the future. A denial will initiate a federal process in which Charter/Spectrum is required to demonstrate they have complied with the contract.

The City of Springfield denied a renewal of its contract with Comcast in December 2021. The city reached a new agreement with Comcast in February 2022. According to the City of Springfield website, the major items negotiated in the contract were:

  • Comcast Customer Service Center in Springfield: Comcast will maintain and operate the Comcast Customer Service Center located in Springfield for the entire 10-year term
  • Non-exclusive cable license agreement with Comcast–will allow potential other cable providers/operators to negotiate cable television franchise license with the city
  • No caps on liquidated damages if Licensee (Comcast) defaults in the performance of provisions of the renewal license, with exception as excused by Force Majeure
  • Comcast will continue to provide Public, Educational and Governmental Access Channels (PEG) through Focus Springfield, the public access television operator
    • Provide a total of four (4) PEG access channels; two (2) High-Definition (HD) PEG access channels and two (2) Standard Definition (SD) PEG access channels
    • Will offer free HD cable television boxes to residents/subscribers who do not have a HD television
  • Comcast will connect the new Focus Springfield PEG access studio when they relocate to their new studio location on Bridge Street at no cost to the city. Focus Springfield or Springfield subscribers
  • Comcast will provide free installation of cable TV drops and connections at public buildings (schools, community centers, neighborhood libraries, etc.), at no cost
  • Franchise fee will remain at 2% – Mayor reserves the right to increase the license fee at any time, upon written notice to Comcast, up to .75%, and only 3 times during the 10-year license term

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly state that four commission members voted to approve the recommendation.

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