Southwest Suburban Cable Commission

No one, I’m quite sure, is waiting breathlessly to hear about the results of last night’s Southwest Suburban Cable Commission meeting. But, in the interest of keeping Eden Prairie residents and blog readers worldwide informed, here’s what happened.

But first a few words about the Southwest Suburban Cable Commission.

The Southwest Suburban Cable Commission (SWCC) is a five-city consortium that works together to regulate cable television providers in the cities of Edina, Hopkins, Richfield, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie. The regulatory tool we use is called the franchise. The SWCC has granted a franchise to Comcast to operate within our five-city area. The franchise is not exclusive. If another cable provider wanted to enter the market, they’re more than welcome to, provided they operate under the same franchise terms and conditions as Comcast.

The SWCC meets twice each year; once in April and once in October. The commission board of directors has two representatives from each city. One is the city manager from each city and the other is an elected official from the city council of each city. The commission is advised by Brian Grogan, an attorney from Moss & Barnett. We are incredibly fortunate to have Mr. Grogan as our adviser. He is a national authority in his field advising cable television commissions across the country.

So at our meeting last night we did the following:

- Elected a new slate of officers: Eden Prairie City Council Member Ron Case will be the chair; Minnetonka IT Director Patty Latham will be the vice-chair, and Hopkins Assistant City Manager Jim Genellie will be the secretary/treasurer.

- Approved the minutes of our October 21, 2009, meeting.

- Approved the 2009 annual report.

- Approved the expenditures of the commission that occurred since our October 2009 meeting, about $35,000.

- Approved a motion not to waive our insurance limits.

- Reviewed the recent franchise fee audit. The results of the audit showed us that Comcast was doing pretty well in paying its 5% franchise fee to the commission. There probably isn’t any good reason to do an advanced audit based on the findings we reviewed last night.

- Discussed the upcoming digital conversion for the Comcast system that will require Comcast customers to install a new digital converter that they call a DTA. That conversion is coming, but there’s no timeline for it yet. The Comcast rep at the meeting said the company is starting the conversion on the east side of the metro and working their way to the west side later.

- We received a report and timeline from our advisor, Brian Grogan, describing the next steps in the franchise renewal process. We have targeted July 2011 to have the draft franchise renewal ready for city council review in the five cities.

- Finally, we set our next meeting for October 27, 2010, at 4pm at Eden Prairie City Center, which is where we always meet.

That’s it.

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