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Council Amends Cable TV Code to Improve Competition, Customer Service

City of Seattle
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 3/23/2015

Council Amends Cable TV Code to Improve Competition, Customer Service

SEATTLE – City Council unanimously approved legislation today to modernize the deployment of cable television franchises, provide Seattle residents with more choices by removing barriers to competition, and implement stronger customer service and consumer protections.

The City’s Cable Code was originally adopted in 1976, with the most recent substantive amendments added in 2002. The Code contains consumer protection standards and prescribes the general rules for all cable franchises granted in the City of Seattle, including procedures for renewing, transferring and terminating franchises. The new legislation streamlines approval processes and re-structures the Code sections by removing provisions that have become outdated and unnecessary.

The new Code changes are intended to improve competition and customer service by eliminating cable franchise districts in favor of a more flexible provision that opens the entire City to competition. The Code also contains new requirements to ensure equity and build-out service to low-income households, enhanced call answering standards and reporting, and more flexibility and protections for residents and owners living in condos and apartments.

“Coach Pete Carroll’s philosophy is a relentless pursuit of competition. We represented that philosophy in updating the cable code law with a focus on enhancing competition to stimulate more options and improved customer service to benefit our residents,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee.

The Citizens’ Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board (CTTAB) supported the legislation in a written statement provided on March 10.

The Department of Information Technology worked collaboratively with the community, CTTAB, and cable providers on the proposed Code amendments. Their input was considered in finalizing the legislation.

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