Cable companies use public property (the “public right-of-way” – city/county streets, sidewalks, easements, etc.) to build and operate their for-profit cable communications businesses. In exchange for the use of the public right-of-way, a company must receive a cable services franchise agreement from the local government entity, which includes certain public benefit obligations, safeguards and requirements. The MHCRC was created by the Cities of Fairview, Gresham, Portland, Troutdale and Wood Village and Multnomah County, Oregon, (“Jurisdictions”) in order to negotiate and collectively manage franchise agreements on the Jurisdictions’ behalf.
Cable Television Service
Although the cable services franchise agreements are not exclusive, most communities have only one cable company serving their area (due in large part to the expense of building cable systems and cable company consolidation).
The MHCRC actively administers cable services franchise agreements with three companies:
- Comcast (serving the Cities of Portland, Gresham, Troutdale, Fairview and Wood Village and Multnomah County)
- Frontier (formerly Verizon) (serving the Cities of Gresham, Troutdale, Fairview and Wood Village)
- Reliance Connects (aka Cascade Access) (serving Corbett area residents in unicorporated Multnomah County)
Cable Internet Service
On March 14, 2002, a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) declaratory ruling concluded that cable modem should be classified as an interstate information service and is therefore subject to FCC jurisdiction. The FCC determined that cable modem service is not a “cable service” as defined by the Communications Act. The FCC also said that cable modem service does not contain a separate “telecommunications service” offering and therefore is not subject to common carrier regulation.
Digital Telephone Service
The MHCRC is authorized to develop and negotiate necessary documents with potential applicants seeking a franchise or other authority that intends to offer telecommunications services in addition to cable services using the same or substantially the same facilities, including developing and negotiating proposed franchise agreement(s) for the provision of competitive cable, multichannel video programming, and/or broadband communications services, including any necessary proposed authorizations for the offering to customers of services other than cable services.