Louisville Metro Government will cancel its contract with Insight Communications if it can’t reach a new deal over how the cable company operates soon.
The city has filed the necessary paperwork to end its agreement with Insight next month unless a new contract is signed. If that happens, the city will look for a new cable provider, though Insight could continue to operate in Louisville until a new contract is signed.
The talks over a new franchise agreement began in January.
“We wanted to make sure that the services that are provided today, which include cable that’s donated to all local schools, to government buildings, mini-boxes that are donated to the elderly and disabled people, continue under the new agreement and we have not been able to get that agreement yet with Insight,” says mayor’s spokesman Chris Poynter.
The mayor’s office also wanted a guarantee that Insight’s call center would remain in Louisville.
Poynter says other provisions, such as keeping basic cable prices low and making Metro TV available had been worked out. He adds that it is the city’s goal not to have an interruption of cable or Internet service and talks will continue.
Insight CEO Michael Willner released the following statement in response:
The Mayor has no right to terminate a valid franchise which continues in full force and effect. This is simply a negotiating tactic to deflect attention from the fact that his administration wants Insight to pay the city over 5 million dollars – a fee that would ultimately be borne by our customers. That is why we are standing with our customers in this fight.
The agreement has expired, and the city is required to give notice before canceling the contract.
Time Warner is in talks to buy Insight. If the company is sold, the franchise agreement would be transfered to Time Warner.
Last year, when the Metro Council took up the franchise agreement, the company denied allegations that it has a monopoly on cable in Louisville. Insight installed and owns many of the lines that provide TV and Internet to homes. At times, public money was available to help pay the costs, but some of the lines laid with city funding belong to the city or the neighborhood groups or homeowners who paid to install them.