What is a franchise agreement?

A franchise agreement is a contract between the City and a public or private utility or telecoms provider who needs access to the City’s rights of way (ROWs) to deliver its services. The City negotiates and executes franchise agreements, which grant the private company or other public agency the right to use the City’s ROW for the installation, maintenance, and repair of their facilities–typically underground pipes and conduits or above-ground cables and lights on poles. A franchise typically covers a wide range of topics, such as permitting procedures, notice requirements before digging in the ROW, insurance and indemnification, length of the franchise, and any applicable costs, fees, or tax arrangements.

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1. What is a franchise agreement?
2. What benefits do residents receive from the current franchise agreement?
3. Cable prices vary significantly between Bainbridge Island and other areas of the country. What can the City do to reduce this variation?
4. What can the City do to improve the quality of cable services provided by Comcast?
5. What is the City doing to foster competition among cable companies operating on Bainbridge Island?
6. Does the franchise agreement address tree trimming?
7. Does the franchise agreement address broadband internet access service offered by Comcast?