In 2002, the City adopted Ordinance 2002-27 establishing a franchise agreement with Buckeye Cablesystems. The franchise agreement granted Buckeye Cable the ability to utilize the City’s right-of-way for installation of the necessary infrastructure to deploy a cable video and internet utility. In exchange for use of the city’s right-of-way, the City established a franchise fee to be paid to the City in the form of 5% of gross revenues from all video services provided to City residents by Buckeye Cable.

The franchise agreement with Buckeye Cable is NON-EXCLUSIVE. The agreement grants Buckeye Cable the ability to utilize the City’s right-of-way for the location of utility infrastructure. The franchise agreement does not restrict the introduction of any other service providers into the community. To date, no other cable/internet provider has contacted the City inquiring about the possibility of providing services in the community, presumably due to the large up-front cost of installation.

There has been significant public discussion regarding overall displeasure with the quality and lack of options for internet services within the community.

Highlights of the City’s franchise agreement:

• 20-year term – Expires 2022.

• Franchise Fee: 5% of all revenue from video services (paid to City)

• Non-exclusive agreement (no restrictions for any other service providers to enter the market)

• Franchise fed generates $130,000 a year for the City

In response to the public comments, the City has begun exploring various options, including the creation of a municipal fiber broadband utility. This would be a completely publicly owned utility operated by the City. Staff is currently working on the initial due diligence and plans to schedule a site visit with key staff for the city of Fairlawn (the main test case in our region for successful implementation of a municipally-owned fiber broadband network – named FairlawnGig). This is one of many efforts being explored to improve the service quality for our residents and businesses.

Council is actively working on updating its overall Economic Development strategy as well as its policy initiatives for the new year. This is one of many issues being discussed. Any further action will ultimately be decided on by City Council.

Follow the link below to review the presentation given to the Economic Development Committee and the actual Franchise Agreement.