Charter Communications has a franchise agreement with Rochester that will need to be renewed shortly. Any company can get a franchise agreement, so the city does not actually create a monopoly, but that is the way that it works out. I couldn’t care less about TV or phone, both are dying technologies that may be gone in 10 years. However I do care greatly about broadband, as it has become a necessity for anyone seeking and education, job, or other community interaction. Here is a letter from Charter.
Charter has leveraged it’s nearly perfect monopoly in broadband to force high rates, mediocre speeds, and poor customer service on Rochester. Charter’s high rates suck money from our economy, and hurt poorer households.
Relative to a $20 broadband connection Charter’s best unbundled, non contract rate is $45. If our broadband penetration reaches 90% of households this means that every year families in our community will lose more than $12 million to over priced broadband.
I tried to get RPU to study if they could provided $20 broadband, but Charter’s lobbyists, the Rochester Chamber of Commerce, and Dennis Hanson fought the idea and as such we didn’t even do a study.
The city is also constructing a fiber network that I hope some day will allow any company to provide service using our grid.