Lower Pottsgrove, Verizon Renew Cable Contract

A Verizon display, at top, on a wide-screen television as it appeared Friday morning

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – A cable television franchise agreement between Verizon Pennsylvania LLC and Lower Pottsgrove was unanimously renewed Thursday (Sept. 23, 2021) night in a vote by the township Board of Commissioners, following a public hearing. The municipality hopes to receive about $70,000 a year from the 5-year contract, or $350,000 during the life of the deal.

Then again, maybe not, commissioners and township Solicitor Charles Garner noted.

Consumer cable subscriptions nationwide are declining, according to a Sept. 9 article published by TechJury. Eighty-two percent of adults in the U.S. who stream internet TV claim it is more entertaining than cable, the news service reported, although it added that 65 percent of Americans still pay for such services.

Pay TV subscriptions across the country are expected to fall 28 percent in 2023, the article states, and possibly more in subsequent years. Locally, that trend is likely to mean lower cable income for the township in the future.

No one spoke for or against the agreement during the hearing, which lasted less than 3 minutes from start to finish.

According to a hearing legal advertisement published on behalf of the township, the agreement:

  • Grants a non-exclusive franchise to Verizon to operate its cable system within the township and its rights of way;
  • Gives Lower Pottsgrove the opportunity to operate one educational channel and one governmental channel of its own (neither currently exist);
  • Requires Verizon to pay the township a franchise fee of 5 percent of annual gross revenue as defined in the agreement;
  • Allows the township to audit or conduct a franchise fee review of Verizon’s books and records no more than once every three years;
  • Sets customer service requirements for Verizon;
  • Requires Verizon to be insured and provide appropriate indemnification; and
  • Includes enforcement and termination provisions and liquidated damages for agreement violations.

Other municipalities with Verizon franchises are renewing under similar if not identical contract language, Garner said.

Photo by The Post