In June of 2010, New York based Cablevision purchased Bresnan Communications to the tune of $1.36 billion. Cablevision has elected to use the name Optimum, which is their brand for bundled services in their home metropolitan New York City Markets. Monday night the Sheridan City Council received an update from City Clerk Scott Badley regarding Cablevision's recent petition that will be filed with the FCC for Determination of Effective Competition.
Badley stated that the franchise agreement between the City and the cable provider expires in 2015. Federal law permits communities to regulate rates for basic cable service and equipment unless that cable company faces “effective competition”, which exists if 15% of the occupied households in a community take service from a competing provider of multichannel video services.
The petition claims that Bresnan did a study that shows that 22% of households in Sheridan receive service from either DirecTV or DISH Network. The City, under legal advice has opted to collect some information on their own before making a decision whether to oppose the petition or not.
An opposition is due 20 days after the date the petition is released for public notice. While Cablevision has informed the City that the petition has been filed, the FCC has yet to release the petition for public notice; however, that action could come at anytime. The City has been in contact with the Law Firm of Miller & Van Eaton from Washington, D.C. about the matter and have been informed that if the City does find evidence that the cable company does not face effective competition, it would cost between $5,000 and $8,000 to prepare a legal opposition.
The Law Firm also indicated that if a City review or more detailed information from Cablevision shows that the company does in fact face effective competition, then there is no need to file with the FCC, as they'll grant the petition under Federal Law.