Local News

Changes to Cable Service to Come Over Next Few Months

Time Warner Cable has completed its purchase of Insight Communications, and changes to branding and service will begin over the next few months.

Time Warner paid $3 billion for Insight and will absorb more than three quarters of a million Insight customers in Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana. Time Warner will soon begin putting its name in place of Insight’s on buildings, uniforms and customer mailings. Other changes will come later.

“Before you own a company, there’s only so much information you can learn,” says Time Warner spokeswoman Mary Jo Green. “Now that we own the company we can spend a little more time in getting to know things in detail.”

Local News Politics

Fischer Will Balance Budget With Department Savings, Insight Payment

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has unveiled a plan to fill the current budget deficit using a variety of department cuts and a settlement from Insight Communications.

The city is facing a $12 million shortfall and officials have been clamoring to fill the hole without layoffs or cuts to services. The Fischer administration will use $6.8 million in savings across city departments and a one-time $3.5 million settlement from Insight.

The money is part of an agreement on Insight’s contract to operate in the city. The city spent the last year negotiating the new contract. Insight has agreed to give the city the payout and preserve all existing services.

“The timing of the settlement is obviously fortunate, keeping the city from having to take even more significant measures to reduce services to close the deficit,” says Fischer. “However, the settlement is just a one-time deal and we still have to address our long-term structural imbalance in which expenses are exceeding revenues.”

Local News

Future of Insight Franchise Agreement Uncertain as Time Warner Acquisition Looms

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.”