Champaign, Urbana to split cable costs

By Patrick Wade

The Champaign City Council unanimously approved an ordinance Tuesday night to enter into an agreement with the City of Urbana to split the cost of cable consulting services.

Urbana and Champaign have a franchise agreement with Insight Communications to provide certain cable television services that is nearing the end of its time period, City Manager Steve Carter said.

The cable consulting services would cost $139,000. The cities intend to hire Moss & Barnett consulting firm to assist with the negotiations with Insight.

Champaign will also hire legal consulting services, which would cost the city $17,500, to evaluate the city’s services and to help negotiate a new franchise agreement, as federal telecommunications laws are a very specialized area, Carter said.

“It really requires you to start negotiating, to start the process two or three years before the franchise actually ends,” Carter said.

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Through the franchise agreement with the cable company, Champaign is able to regulate certain factors of the city’s cable television service. The contract sets customer service standards that the cable company is required to meet and also provides channels for public use by the City of Champaign, the University and Parkland College, Carter said.