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Baltimore City

City Council gives preliminary approval to renewing franchise deal with Comcast Cable

Baltimore's City Council on Thursday unanimously gave approval to a 10-year, $114 million deal with Comcast to continue providing cable television in the city.

The franchise agreement allows Comcast of Baltimore City, LLC to "construct, operate, and maintain a cable communication system" across public property in exchange for 5 percent of the annual gross revenue the company receives from Baltimore customers.

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Comcast's current 12-year deal in Baltimore expires at the end of this year.

The new deal is expected to deliver about $114 million in revenue to the city over 10 years, including $30 million from fees charged for using the city's underground conduit system.

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The 5 percent cut of customer revenue is estimated to generate about $70 million over 10 years. The city also would receive $14 million in other fees.

The agreement does not exclude other cable companies from striking their own deals to operate in Baltimore. City Councilman Bill Henry said some myths have been spread about the deal prohibiting Verizon FiOS from operating in Baltimore.

"This is not an exclusive contract," Henry said Thursday. "We're not keeping FiOS or any other provider from coming into the city.

"This franchise regulates cable television only. It does not, and cannot by law, regulate broadband service."

A final vote on the agreement is expected on Monday.

lbroadwater@baltsun.com

twitter.com/lukebroadwater


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