City Survey Asks: What Do We Need From Comcast

STATEMENT:  From Media Mobilizing Project Co-Director Bryan Mercer, on the occasion of the City of Philadelphia releasing a survey asking Philadelphians to help shape current Comcast Cable Franchise negotiations.

Over the weekend, the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Innovation and Technology released a public survey, asking Philadelphians to share their “cable television related needs and interests”, as the City moves forward in negotiations with Comcast in the potential renewal of their current 15-year cable television franchise.  The current franchise expires in 2015. The statement below can be attributed to Media Mobilizing Project’s Co-Executive Director, Bryan Mercer:  You can access the survey here: http://www.phila.gov/cablefranchises/Pages/default.aspx, and stay tuned for more opportunities to engage with the public franchise process coming from MMP.

Contact:  Bryan Mercer

bryan@mediamobilizing.org

215-439-5056

Hannah Sassaman

hannah@mediamobilizing.org

267-970-4007

“The City of Philadelphia has the opportunity to secure important victories as it sits down to negotiate with Comcast.  Philadelphians have many thoughts on how Comcast can provide more affordable, accessible, and useful services to the consumers it serves.  Amongst them, in exchange for the right to sell us cable services, Comcast is obligated to support local community produced news, culture, and public debate at our flagship public access television center, PhillyCAM.  PhillyCAM means a lot to many Philadelphians. We must protect and expand the health of PhillyCAM as a part of this negotiation, and make it and its resources even more available to the millions across our region that could benefit from producing and watching its exciting programming.

As a company with well-documented influence in Philadelphia, Comcast benefits in a big way from city and state tax breaks, from access to legislators, and from the profits it makes from consumers with little choice in who can provide them with cable and broadband service.  News reports note that City and Pennsylvania governments plan to contribute forty million dollars in grants to Comcast in support of a plan to expand their Philadelphia headquarters. If we are to use public resources in support of Comcast’s growth, we believe it is all the more important that the residents of our city get a franchise agreement that meets our needs, and that Comcast fulfills its corporate responsibility to our city. MMP is focused on distributing this survey – and other questions about the responsibility of corporations profiting from our communities – to a wide audience.  We look forward to engaging a wide swath of Philadelphians in conversation about our cable franchise over the next year as these negotiations progress.”

Media Mobilizing Project collaborates with poor and working people to tell the untold stories that help end poverty.  MMP helped lead a process that secured millions in federal stimulus funds for Philadelphia partners aimed at ending the digital divide.  In March 2013, MMP helped bring the public’s attention to the fact that Comcast had spent over $100,000 to block City Council’s bill to expand paid sick days to hundreds of thousands of Philadelphia workers: https://mediamobilizing.org/updates/updated-w-video-philadelphians-deliver-over-60000-signatures-urging-council-stand-families. To learn more about Media Mobilizing Project and to stay abreast of our work on Comcast’s public franchise in Philadelphia, visit https://mediamobilizing.org or email info@mediamobilizing.org