Why Philly's tech scene should get involved in the Comcast franchise talks - Technical.ly Philly

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Apr. 23, 2015 10:51 am

Why Philly’s tech scene should get involved in the Comcast franchise talks

Help shape what the city gets out of the Comcast franchise agreement negotiations. It's about the future of Philadelphia, said Indy Hall's Alex Hillman.
On set at PhillyCAM’s discussion of the Comcast franchise agreement currently being negotiated by the city.

On set at PhillyCAM's discussion of the Comcast franchise agreement currently being negotiated by the city.

(Photo by Juliana Reyes)

Full disclosure: Comcast is the title sponsor of Philly Tech Week 2015, which is organized by Technical.ly's events team.

The city is renegotiating its 15-year cable TV deal with Comcast. That means the city has a bargaining chip with one of its largest corporate citizens. Mayor Michael Nutter has said he will “negotiate hard” for better prices and free broadband in underserved neighborhoods.

The negotiations are also a unique opportunity for Philadelphians to make their voices heard on the issue of Comcast.

"I want to be proud of a company being in Philadelphia, and sometimes it's tough."
Alex Hillman, Indy Hall

Here’s where the tech scene comes in: The city is hosting a series of public forums, starting April 28, to collect information for the negotiations. Technologists should show up and participate, said Indy Hall’s Alex Hillman, during a PhillyCAM broadcast Wednesday about the franchise agreement negotiations. The event was held as part of Philly Tech Week 2015 presented by Comcast. (During the broadcast, we spotted Comcast’s director of entrepreneurial engagement, Danielle Cohn, who watched the segment from PhillyCAM’s lobby.)

People are paying attention to Philly’s growing tech scene — City Council and mayoral candidates are coming to tech forums, Mayor Nutter spent nearly two hours at last night’s Philly Startup Leaders Entrepreneur Expo and Comcast has played its largest role yet in Philly Tech Week. There’s opportunity there, Hillman said. Let’s take advantage of this moment in time.

“Let’s take the fact that a lot of eyes are on us and do something good with it,” Hillman said.

Indy Hall is hosting an event Thursday at 5 p.m. to prep people on what to expect at the public forums.

RSVP

The Indy Hall gang plans to attend the April 28 meeting from 5-7 p.m. at South Philly High.

If you’d like to speak, you can also attend the Media Mobilizing Project’s workshops, where they’ll help you develop your comments. Those will be held this Friday, April 24, and Monday, April 27, at 6 p.m. at the group’s headquarters (4534 Baltimore Ave.). You can also let them know which forum you’re attending on the MMP website.

At the PhillyCAM broadcast, Hillman stressed that the negotiation process shouldn’t be seen as an adversarial one. It’s an opportunity for both parties to learn more about what the other wants and needs, he said. It’s about communication. It’s about the future of Philadelphia: “Where do we want Philadelphia to be in 15 years?” he asked. “And what can we do now to get there?”

It’s also about hometown pride.

“I want to be proud of a company being in Philadelphia,” he said, “and sometimes it’s tough.”

Here’s our chance to make it easier, he said.

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