Letter from CAN TV for support of Daley/Stone ordinance (Nov. 2, 2004)

Posted by Mitchell - November 7, 2004 (entry 250)

November 2, 2004

Iím writing to update you on the CAN TV funding situation. The ordinance to fund CAN TV introduced by Mayor Daley and Alderman Stone passed the Finance Committee on Monday and is scheduled for a vote at Wednesdayís City Council meeting. This ordinance proposes a viable solution to help close the funding gap caused by the failure of cable competition in the City of Chicago. Cable provider, Comcast, opposed the ordinance and is seeking a delay on Wednesday. It is making a number of allegations concerning CAN TV getting a small percentage of the cable franchise fee and the Cityís plan to initiate a slight reduction in the rebate normally given to companies that pay the Cityís amusement tax. The following are responses to Comcastís allegations:

Is the new ordinance unfair to Comcast? No. At present, Comcast, the largest cable company in Chicago, gets 85% of citywide cable revenues. It pays 58% of CAN TVís cable funding. RCN and WOW get the remaining 15% of citywide gross revenues but pay 42% of CAN TVís funding. The ordinance only increases Comcastís payment to 65% of CAN TVís cable funding.

Is the new ordinance burdensome to Comcastís customers? No. The change in the amusement tax will result in less than $2.00 per year to Comcast subscribers, or approximately 15 cents per month.

Will the new ordinance cause Comcast to have a competitive disadvantage? No. According to The Chicago Tribune (3/20/04), Comcast holds the lionís share of the market with satellite holding only 10%, and competitive cable companies like RCN and WOW holding only 5%.

Mayor Daley and Alderman Stone have proposed a strong solution to help resolve the persistent struggle CAN TV has faced for years with an outdated and ineffective funding structure. The ordinance recognizes that cable competition has failed and helps establish a long-term solution. We have gotten this far by working together to protect this important community resource. Now we need to see this through to a resolution. Please urge your Alderman to vote to pass this ordinance on Wednesday. Join us at the meeting at 10 a.m. in City Council Chambers, 2nd floor of City Hall. Information is available at www.cantv.org. Thank you for your support.

Sincerely,

Barbara Popovic
Executive Director

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