Even though a local citizen's committee recommended a renewal of no longer than eight years, the Reno City Council on Tuesday approved a new 15-year cable franchise for Charter Communications.
The city council was widely split on the issue, with opponents of a longer term stating a 15-year renewal would reward Charter for poor customer service, as noted in a consultant's report that Charter said was skewed because the research was done during a system upgrade when complaints typically spike.
Proponents noted there is no alternative provider waiting in the wings, and that Charter pledged larger grant payments to the city if the council approved a long renewal.
Ultimately, the council approved the 15-year term on a 4-2 vote, with one councilman absent.
Charter agreed to more frequent reporting on customer service standards and to pay $2.8 million in grants to help support public-access channels. Two analog slots will be granted for government access and public access, respectively; and three digital slots will be dedicated, one each for government and educational use and one reserved for future use.
Reno also gains the ability to cablecast from seven city locations, including the new city hall.
Charter will provide free basic and expanded basic service to government buildings, and offer service at a 20 % discount to seniors older than 65 and the disabled.