Rochester City Council to formally notify Charter Communications - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Rochester City Council to formally notify Charter Communications of franchise violation

 ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Rochester city council members have decided to notify Charter Communications of violating its franchise agreement with the city.

Now the company will face a deadline to correct the problem. The city is telling Charter it has until March 31 to fix it's violation after changing public access channels without council permission.

Frustration began last month, when PEG channels were transferred over to new stations. City officials understood that Charter would have to ask the council's approval to move those channels.
However, Charter understood things differently. The company moved the channels on October 14 without council referral. Company representatives say the franchise does not state they must have city approval to transfer the channels.

Now, in the last week, Charter is seemingly making amends by offering more affordable alternatives for low income customers, including cable cards for $1.99 a month instead of nearly $7 with a box.  The company has also pledged to provide up to two cable boxes free for five years.

Council members are encouraged by Charter's recent offerings, but agree the violation is apparent.

"I don't think I'm alone in thinking that they are in violation of the current franchise agreement so with that I guess, I don't see that it hurts for is to make sure that we just make this a formalized position and continue to be open and move forward on this and see if we can't come up with some things that are best for everybody," said council member Ed Hruska.

Charter is involved in a similar situation with the city of St. Cloud in franchise agreement violations. They have to amend those violations by November 30 in that area.

The city can't take any action against Charter without formally notifying them of the violation and giving them a timeline of when it must be corrected.

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