There are still a number of details to work out in Time Warner Cable’s pending acquisition of Insight Communications. The sale was announced last week and a Time Warner spokesman says it’s too early to discuss possible changes to service. Many services can be regulated through franchise agreements, which cable operators sign with governments. Louisville’s agreement with Insight has lapsed, and the city has spent the last seven months negotiating a new deal.
“I am a little bit surprised that we’re at this stage of the deal and we don’t have a franchise agreement yet,” says Metro Councilman Kevin Kramer. “I am hopeful that we can get the franchise agreement taken care of so that when Time Warner actually purchases Insight, we’ll have a franchise agreement in place that at least protects the city.”
Time Warner won’t say whether it would seek to renew the current agreement or ink a new deal, but Kramer says the city should try to sign an agreement with Insight before the company is sold.
“Time Warner is a very large company with fairly vast resources,” he says. “Many of the folks who are engaged with the day to day work of Insight are local—they live here in Louisville. So I think there’s a different level of understanding of the services they provide and the agreement they would reach with the city.”
Kramer sits on the National League of Cities’ Information Technology Steering Committee. The panel advocates franchise agreements that ensure local channels are part of basic cable packages. The County Attorney’s office, which is leading the talks with Insight, says negotiations will likely continue, though that hasn’t yet been determined.
A spokesman for the mayor’s office says Time Warner will have to “assume the contractual obligations that Insight currently has with the city.”