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Ogdensburg wants more from agreement with Time Warner Cable

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The city of Ogdensburg is in the process of renegotiating a franchise contract with Time Warner Cable with city officials looking to get more out of the agreement.

The agreement, which was last negotiated roughly a decade ago, City Manager John M. Pinkerton said, gives Time Warner Cable to right to operate within Ogdensburg.

Time Warner pays five percent of their cable revenue to the city under the agreement.

Mayor William D. Nelson said the city is frustrated with the contract and the services the media giant provides.

While the city can’t control how much money consumers are paying for access to cable, phone or internet, Mr. Nelson said they want to get new features like the ability to interrupt public access programming during emergencies.

As an example, Mr. Nelson said, with emergency access, “We could bop right in and say, ‘hey, there is a water main break.’”

City Council is also looking into whether or not it would be feasible to broadcast council meetings live.

“Whatever we can garner out of the franchise agreement renewal to better the community access to information we want to do that,” Mr. Nelson said.

Currently, Mr. Nelson said, the city receives five-percent of Time Warner Cable’s cable television revenue in the city which amounts to roughly $15,000 per year.

“You don’t get rich on it,” Mr. Nelson said of the fee.

Mr. Pinkerton said the city hopes to reduce the fee for customers in the new contract if possible.

The city isn’t in any hurry to renew the contract, Mr. Nelson said, and he plans on talking with mayors in other communities across the county to see if they can leverage a better deal.

Time Warner Cable submitted an application to renew the contract earlier this month and proposed a 15-year agreement.

Mr. Nelson also noted that the agreement doesn’t close Ogdensburg to other television, internet and phone providers and said there is room for others to come in.

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