Haverhill has entered into a new 10-year agreement with Comcast which, among other things, provides for a local television station to use high-definition technology.
Comcast has three years to convert any of the local channels, whether public access, educational or government, to high quality video format. The deal, negotiated by the city’s Cable TV Advisory Committee, also requires Comcast to contribute 5% of its local gross revenues, currently $ 1.3 million per year, to support local programming and 1.1 million dollars over the term of the contract for equipment upgrades. In a statement, Mayor James J. Fiorentini stressed that the deal is non-exclusive and that the committee has looked for competitors in cable and the Internet.
“They worked very hard to recruit another company so that there would be competition. They invited companies, interviewed them, but no other company was interested and only Comcast bid. But we are not going to give up on our quest to find another business, ”said the mayor.
Fiorentini explained that Verizon and others have said they are not expanding in Massachusetts or that coming to Haverhill would be too expensive due to the high cost of installing lines in one of the largest geographic cities in the state. Another oft-cited reason, the mayor said, is that Comcast already has such a large market share that an insufficient number of its roughly 20,000 Haverhill customers cannot be expected to switch to a new one. supplier to make it profitable.
As WHAV reported in January, the city’s negotiating committee, chaired by William Gould, had largely come to an agreement with Comcast, but the person sitting opposite, Comcast senior manager Robert F. Sullivan, is party to become mayor of Brockton. Gould said the committee and the outside lawyer worked on the contract for four years.
“Despite evolving federal decisions and changes in cable TV viewing habits, I believe we have negotiated the best possible cable license for the people of Haverhill while ensuring that we are able to take advantage of new technologies, services and suppliers when they become available, ”he said.
The $ 1.1 million paid in annual installments of $ 110,000 for upgrades goes towards renovating and upgrading communications equipment in studios or at City Hall, for example. Comcast will also continue to provide communications, including data, video and telephone services to city offices and school buildings. The so-called “I-Net” package covers 33 buildings over 70 km.