Cable Television Franchise

Comcast Franchise AgreementCable TV Franchise Renewals

The City of Manassas has cable franchises with both Verizon FIOS and Comcast/Xfinity.  These franchises will expire in 2023.  Cable franchises are heavily regulated by both the Federal and State government which limits the authority of the City of Manassas. We are now in the window of time to begin the franchise renewal process and the City is seeking public input regarding both franchise renewals.  Please review the information on this website, fill out one or both of the surveys, and provide any additional comments.  We thank you in advance for your assistance.

What is a Cable Franchise?

A cable franchise allows cable companies to place their lines and equipment in the public right of way.  Whether this is buried under our streets or sidewalks or attached to the City’s utility poles, the franchise is what gives cable companies the ability to have their equipment in the City and provide this service to residents and businesses.

What does the franchise do?

The franchise allows the City to do three main things – set customer service standards, require the provision of a Public, Educational, Government (PEG) channel, and outline general technology requirements.  The cable customer must comply with these items in the franchise in order to continue using the City’s right of way.

What does the franchise NOT do?

The franchise does not give the City the authority to regulate the rates charged by cable companies and it does not give the City the ability to require certain channels or services be provided. 

What laws govern cable franchises?

The federal law governing cable franchises is the Communications Act of 1934, which was amended and updated by the 1996 Telecommunications Act. 

There is also a Commonwealth of Virginia law regarding cable franchises.

Read the cable franchise agreements:

Comcast CATV Franchise Agreement
Verizon CATV Franchise Agreement

What is the general process for renewing the franchise?

Cable franchises are limited to a term of 15 years.  The general process is outlined in Section 626 of the Communications Act of 1934.  The process begins with the City seeking public input regarding the performance of the cable company as well as seeking input on future needs.  The surveys on this website are a part of this process.

The City will negotiate with the Cable Company on the terms of a new franchise and the Cable Company will submit a proposal.  This proposal will be considered by City Council and there will be one or more public hearings on the proposed franchise renewal at which time citizens can provide additional comments.

How do citizens provide comment?

Citizens can provide comment by completing our online surveys. 

Citizens may also submit written comments via email to   Please include your name and street address as part of your comments.

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