Press Release

Press Release # 002
Friday, April 11, 2008


City Seeks Proposals to Provide Every New York City Household Access to Competitive Cable Service

Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) Commissioner Paul J. Cosgrave today announced the issuance of a formal solicitation seeking cable television franchise proposals from any company ready, willing and able to offer service to every household in New York City, in competition with existing providers.  The solicitation and notice of the solicitation will be published on Monday, April 14, in the City Record.

“Millions of New Yorkers rely on cable television as an important source of information, news, and entertainment, and today we’ve taken a significant step toward opening this market to potential new providers,” said Commissioner Cosgrave. “It is our firm belief that – as in any business – direct competition between cable providers will result in greater choice, lower prices and enhanced customer service for cable television subscribers.  We look forward to receiving and reviewing these new proposals.”

The solicitation issued today is non-exclusive and open-ended, so that any company interested in and capable of offering service to all City households will be eligible for consideration for a franchise over the months and years to come.  While in recent months, DoITT has been in discussions with Verizon regarding the terms under which Verizon would build and offer competitive cable television service to every home in New York City via its advanced FiOS TV system, any grant of a franchise pursuant to this solicitation will not preclude the grant of additional franchises to other companies to offer service simultaneously or in the future.

Any and every franchise agreement arising out of today’s solicitation will include significant customer service requirements and be subject to approval by the City’s Franchise and Concession Review Committee (FCRC) after the public has an opportunity to review the proposed agreement(s).  An open public hearing will be part of the public review process for every franchise agreement to be considered by the FCRC.

The existing City-administered cable television franchises with Cablevision and Time Warner were last renewed in 1998 and will expire this fall.  Through DoITT, the City of New York is now also beginning the renewal process for these contracts.  As part of this process, DoITT hosted public hearings in each borough this January and February, and accepted written comments submitted through March 31, to gather input about cable television service issues and concerns.  This feedback will provide DoITT valuable insight as it proceeds to negotiate renewal agreements in the coming months.

As New York City’s technology agency, DoITT administers the City’s telecommunications franchises, including those for cable television, high capacity fiber, public pay telephones, and mobile telecommunications equipment installed in City streets.

Nicholas Sbordone (212) 788-6602