Philadelphians Win Historic Comcast Cable Franchise Agreement

Philadelphia’s Win Sparks a National Movement to CAP Comcast

Members of the Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net) applaud our member, the Media Mobilizing Project (MMP) in its historic win for a fair cable franchise agreement in Philadelphia. Last week the City of Philadelphia approved a new 15-year cable franchise agreement with Comcast that secured unprecedented public benefits for Philadelphia’s poorest as well as strong protections for the city’s cable customers and workers.

“We are incredibly excited by the work of Media Mobilizing Project, and by the historic victory the CAP Comcast Campaign was able to achieve, with leadership from MMP,” said Malkia A. Cyril, Executive Director of the Center for Media Justice.

This historic agreement came as a result of an overwhelming public outcry over Comcast’s failure to serve the needs of the city it calls its home. The CAP Comcast campaign, led by MMP, organized the voices of low-income families, teachers, students, and workers who all called for Comcast to help pull Philadelphia out of the bottom ranks in poverty indicators and Internet access.

Cable companies like Comcast have franchise agreements with most municipalities across the country. In these multi-year agreements cable companies provide some public benefits to the cities they operate it, typically discounts on Internet for city offices and funding Public, Educational and Government access television (PEG).  In exchange, cable companies get access to public streets in order to expand and maintain their cable network. Philadelphia’s franchise agreement is unique in that it also extended Internet discounts for low-income families and guarantees cable workers a living wage for the next 15 years.

“Franchise agreements are unique opportunities for local communities to hold these giant cable companies accountable,” said Steven Renderos, Senior Campaign Manager at the Center for Media Justice. “MMP and the CAP Comcast campaign have laid out a blueprint of what other cities should and must demand of the companies who generate billions off the backs of Internet and cable customers.”

Philadelphia’s franchise agreement is already causing waves in other parts of the country.  Seattle recently halted their franchise negotiations with Comcast and secured some of the same public benefits Philadelphia was able to win. 

“Our members are ready to fight for a fair franchise in their city.  Learning from MMP’s CAP Comcast campaign our members will fight for public benefits that fully fund public access TV stations, expand Internet access for low-income families and protect workers,” said Danielle Chynoweth, Organizing Director at the Center for Media Justice.