Here's your last chance to speak your mind about Comcast before the city finalizes its contract - Technical.ly Philly

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Nov. 11, 2015 9:11 am

Here’s your last chance to speak your mind about Comcast before the city finalizes its contract

Thursday is a big day.
Comcast HQ.

Comcast HQ.

(Photo by Flickr user Ryan Hallock, used under a Creative Commons license)

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

Thursday is a big day for Philadelphia’s future.

It’s the day that City Council is hosting a hearing about Comcast’s proposed contract with the city. The contract comes after months of negotiations between both parties and must be approved by City Council.

Why’s it such a big deal?

It’s a contract that’ll last for the next 15 years. It’s also a contract that the city’s only other cable provider, Verizon, will have to follow when its contract expires in seven years.

As Indy Hall’s Alex Hillman put it, it’s a question of, “Where do we want Philadelphia to be in 15 years? And what can we do now to get there?”

Thursday’s hearing will be split up into two parts: from 1-4 p.m., City Council will hear from several panels of community members, including School District Chief Information Officer Melanie Harris and Media Mobilizing Project’s Hannah Sassaman, said Courtney Voss of Councilman Bobby Henon’s office.

We posted the preliminary agenda at the bottom of this piece. Here’s a look at Council’s early questions to Comcast. From 5-8 p.m., in Room 400, Council will hear from the public.

If you want to speak, here’s how:

  • Sign up here.
  • Or, call the Chief Clerk’s office at 215-686-3410 or 215-686-3411.
  • Or, sign up in Room 400 of City Hall before the Council session starts.

If you can’t make it out, contact your City Councilperson.

Make sure to check out the proposed contract, which includes a $500,000 “Digital Inclusion Alliance Fund,” improvements to customer service and an expansion of Comcast’s low-cost internet option to include senior citizens.

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The folks at Media Mobilizing Project and PhillyCAM have asked that Comcast support tech training and infrastructure in Philly schools, offer low-cost internet to any home that wants and needs it and labor protections for Comcast workers. Media Mobilizing Project and the organizers behind the national Fight for 15 campaign to raise the minimum wage for fast food workers teamed up to host a rally at Comcast on Tuesday.

This agenda, provided by Voss, is subject to change:

Opening Remarks by Committee Chair and Members

Administration Opening Statement

Comcast Opening Statement

Panel: Compliance and Violation Remediation

Panel: Workforce

Panel: City Network

Panel: Customer Service and Consumer Protection
Todd O’Boyle, Media and Democracy Reform Initiative, Common Cause

Panel: Internet Essentials Programs/ Low Income Programs
Joseph Torres, Senior External Affairs Director, Free Press
Hannah Sassaman, Policy Director, Media Mobilizing Project

Panel: Government Channels and Funding

Panel: PhillyCAM Channels and Funding
Gretjen Clausing, Executive Director, PhillyCAM
Louis Massiah, Executive Director, Scribe Video Center / PhillyCAM Board
Mike Wassenaar, President, Alliance for Community Media
Anthony Riddle, Co-Director, BRIC Community Media
Trudy Haynes, Member, PhillyCAM

Panel: Education Channels and Education Funding
Melanie Harris, Chief Information Office, School District of Philadelphia
Hillary Linardopoulos, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers

Panel: Other Franchise Issues

General Public Comment

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