Cox Cable Franchise Renewal


On May 14, 2013, the Board of Supervisors held a public hearing and adopted an ordinance granting a new non-exclusive franchise to CoxCom LLC, d/b/a/ Cox Communications Northern Virginia (“Cox”) to provide cable service to households and businesses in Fairfax County (excluding the Reston Franchise Area).  The new Franchise Agreement is effective June 9, 2013, for a term of ten years.

Cox acquired its cable system in Fairfax County from Media General Cable, Inc., in 1999, with a 15-year franchise term ending on June 9, 2013.

The new agreement generally maintains the benefits of the 1998 franchise agreement, with appropriate changes to reflect advances in technology and anticipated future developments.

The agreement pdf icon addresses significant County priorities. 

Service, Signal Quality and Safety

  • Includes customer service standards similar to those in the Verizon and Comcast Agreements.
  • Allows the County to assess liquidated damages if Cox does not comply with customer service standards or other provisions of the Agreement, in addition to the right to revoke or shorten the franchise for material violations.
  • Like Verizon, Cox will be required to extend service at no charge to housing densities of at least 30 homes per mile (improved from 35 homes per mile in the previous agreement).
  • Provides video service to County and Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) sites  at no charge.
  • Continues to maintain the authority of County inspectors to enforce construction, safety and signal quality standards in the County and to respond to homeowner complaints.

Financial Benefits

  • Cox continues to pay the County 5% of gross subscriber revenues from cable service via the state Communications Sales and Use Tax.  Under state law, this tax has taken the place of the franchise fee in the current Agreement. 
  • Provides for payment to the County of 3% of gross revenues from cable service as grants for Public, Educational and Governmental (PEG) Access, including capital funding for the Institutional Network (I-Net).

Public, Educational and Governmental (PEG) Channels

  • Secures up to fourteen PEG access channels, including current PEG channels such as Fairfax County Government Channel 16, FCPS Red Apple 21, Fairfax Public Access Channel 10, George Mason University Channel 18, and Northern Virginia Community College Channel 19.
  •  Incorporates provisions for upgrading access channels to high-definition (HDTV) and other advanced formats as they develop; for “on-demand” access to PEG programming; and for inclusion of PEG channels along with broadcast channels in  packages Cox may make available for other platforms, such as smartphones and tablets.

 Institutional Network

The I-Net is a fiber-optic network connecting County and FCPS sites, built by Cox to the County’s specifications and paid for from the PEG grants described above.

  • Preserves the benefits of the existing I-Net.
  • Simplifies and customizes the provision of video service to County and FCPS sites, reducing complication and expense.
  • Includes a fixed fee paid by the County for end-to-end maintenance of the I-Net fiber.

 

Questions about cable service, or complaints about service quality, construction, and other problems, may be directed to the Communications Policy and Regulation Division of the Fairfax County Department of Cable and Consumer Services.  Contact us by e-mail or call 703-324-5902, TTY 711.




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