ROBBINSVILLE: Officials to consider cable renewal

The Township Council will mull a 10 year cable franchise renewal for Cablevision.

by James McEvoy, Managing Editor
 ROBBINSVILLE — The Township Council will mull a 10-year cable franchise renewal for Cablevision.
   At the Dec. 12 meeting, the governing body unanimously introduced an ordinance for the renewal.
   Mark Roselli, township attorney, noting Robbinsville is one of only a few municipalities that do not have a franchise ordinance with the cable company, said the matter goes back several years.
   ”There was disagreement I think back then with the mayor with respect to certain aspects of the franchise, and basically, when there was cable competition these ordinances meant something, now there is no cable competition,” Mr. Roselli said. “You guys have Cablevision, I guess some people have Comcast.”
   Councilwoman Sheree McGowan noted Verizon Fios, which has a statewide franchise, is also available to residents.
   According to a copy of the proposed ordinance, Cablevision initially filed an application for renewal in September 2007.
   ”What this particular ordinance (does) is basically establishes a ten-year term, which is less than most,” Mr. Roselli said. “There’s usually a 10-, 15- or 20-year term.
   ”It has a grant of $18,000 that can be used for certain technology,” he added, noting that amount is also more than is usually provided in such ten-year deals.
   In addition, under the proposed renewal, free cable access would be provided to Robbinsville schools, the library and municipal buildings.
   Another component of the deal is a provision that residents on longer roads who typically have to pay for lines to be run down to them will not have to do so under the terms of the proposed agreement.
   According to the ordinance, even with township consent, operation is conditioned upon prior approval from the Board of Public Utilities.
   A public hearing, after which the council could formally adopt the measure, is scheduled for tonight’s meeting.