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Gilford entering cable franchise renewal process


April 28, 2021
Gilford is now going through the renewal process of its cable franchise agreement with Atlantic Broadband, including participation in a consortium of Lakes Region communities.

The town received official notice from Atlantic Broadband about the intent to renew the cable franchise agreement, which expires on Dec. 31, 2023.

As part of the renewal process, the board of selectmen is seeking public input to determine the town's cable-related needs as well as feedback on Atlantic Broadband's performance under the current agreement.

The agreement covers programming quality, reliability, availability, customer service, and local access channels. By law the process can't include programming, fees, and internet or phone service.

Anyone interested in giving feedback can email the selectmen at selectmen@gilfordnh.org or mail Gilford Board of Selectmen, 47 Cherry Valley Rd., Gilford, NH, 03249.

The deadline for feedback is July 15.

During the April 15 selectmen's meeting, town administrator Scott Dunn said he recently attended a meeting of the local cable consortium group, which plans to have an intermunicipal agreement ready in a few meetings.

Some of the towns in the process have dropped out of the consortium, including Meredith.

During the April 5 meeting of the Meredith selectmen, Meredith town manager Phil Warren recommended that the town pull out of the consortium and renew the cable franchise agreement with Atlantic Broadband for the next 15 years.

Warren said a significant sticking point was what can't be negotiated by law in a cable franchise agreement, saying many of these areas are ones that are the subject of the most complaints. Additionally he said each town in the consortium would be responsible for $4,300 in legal fees.

Both Warren and Meredith selectman Jeanie Forrester said they were disappointed with what they heard at the meeting and said they would rather keep that $4,300.

"I think other towns may take a similar approach so the consortium may shrink in size," Dunn said.

Dunn said Gilford and Laconia are in a unique situation where they have franchise agreements with two competing companies: Atlantic Broadband and Comcast. He said this process will be ongoing.

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