UPDATED: County Board Approves Comcast Franchise Renewal Agreement

Published on November 30, 2016

UPDATED 12-10-2016

  • Board approves a new 5-year agreement at December 10 meeting

  • County to receive 5 percent of Comcast's revenue for video services

  • Public access channels' annual capital grants to continue

  • Each public access entity to receive high definition channel

Arlington's three public educational and government access channels would be upgraded to high definition (HD) broadcasting under the terms of the County's franchise renewal agreement with Comcast.

The County Board today voted 5-0 to approve a new five year contract with Comcast at its December meeting.  This new certificate  authorizes Comcast to continue providing cable television service in Arlington for five years, starting in 2017. Comcast has provided cable service in Arlington since 2000.ATV

"This agreement ensures ongoing capital grants for our County, Arlington Educational Television and Arlington Independent Media for the next five years and, importantly, gives each of these public access channels a high-definition channel for the first time," Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz said. "This is a good agreement for the County at a time of rapid change in the cable industry."

In exchange for having Comcast cable in the County's right-of-way, the County will receive five percent of Comcast's revenue earned in Arlington for video as the Virginia Communications Tax. The County also would benefit from Comcast providing for an orderly transition of the remaining Arlington Public Schools (APS) and County government sites to ConnectArlington by the end of 2017. ConnectArlington is the County's fiber-optic, high-speed dedicated network that links County and Schools buildings.

Arlington's Public, Educational and Governmental Access channels (PEG) will continue to receive annual capital grants to support the purchase of new and upgraded equipment and related needs. Renewal terms of the certificate retains the six channels total that the County's PEG entities now have, but allows the County to retain one standard definition (SD) channel for each PEG entity and replace three existing SD channels with three high definition (HD) channels.

About Arlington's Public, Education and Government entities

  • Arlington Independent Media (AIM) provides the Arlington public access channel and other services. AIM is a non-profit corporation, governed by its own board of directors — three appointed by the County Board.  Programs are broadcast over Channel 69 on Comcast, and on channel 38 on Verizon, and streamed over the Internet.

  • Arlington Educational TV is a government agency overseen by the APS Superintendent and the School Board. Programs are broadcast over channels 70, 72, 73 on Comcast and on channels 41, 42, 43 on Verizon FiOS with Comcast Channel 70 and Verizon FiOS Channel 41 streamed over the Internet.

  • Arlington Television (ATV), the County government channel, is a County agency, under the direction of the County Manager and the County Board. In addition to broadcasting all County Board meetings and some commission meetings, ATV produces original programming. Programs are broadcast over channels 25 and 74 on Comcast and on channels 39 and 40 on Verizon FiOS. All programming is also streamed and archived on the Internet.

Each PEG entity has authority over the management of its operations and the programming of its channels, but the scope of that authority may be altered at any given time by the entity's governing body.