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Cable Franchise

Welcome to the City of Albuquerque’s Cable Franchise homepage!

Cable television is just one part of the complex technical environment in which we live in the Twenty-First Century. However, it is an important part. We hope that these pages will contain the information you are seeking. If not, these pages contain links and contacts to take you where you will find more information.

What is a cable franchise?

The term “cable franchise” means that a company that provides cable television services has the City's permission to install and operate fiber, wires and equipment in City streets and other public rights-of-way in order to provide these services. The City also grants franchise authorities to public utilities and telecommunications providers. According to local law, the City Council must approve and enact these municipal authorities as franchise ordinances. These franchises must be non-exclusive. Comcast of New Mexico has a non-exclusive franchise authority to provide cable television services in the City of Albuquerque.

The Comcast Franchise Ordinance is codified in the Revised Ordinances of Albuquerque at Sections 13-5-3-1 to 13-5-3-15 (2019). View the 2016-2018 Comcast Renewal Process; and the 2019 Franchise Ordinance to see a summary of the Franchise Ordinance and read the entire Comcast Franchise Ordinance.

Why is the cable franchise important to you?

Federal law requires cable television providers to meet the community’s cable-related needs. City governments are in charge of engaging their constituents in these community needs assessments. These assessments are important – not just to the households that subscribe to cable television services, but to the broader community, too. For example, cities negotiate for the number of public, educational and government access (“PEG”) channels based on these needs assessments. Please explore "Community Needs Assessment: the 2016-2018 Comcast Renewal Process” to find out about the City of Albuquerque’s most recent community needs assessment.

If you live in one of the approximately 70,000 Albuquerque households that subscribe to Comcast or if you are interested in possibly beginning a Comcast subscription, you will want to review:

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) granted a 2010 petition for a determination of effective competition brought by Comcast; and as a result, the City of Albuquerque can no longer set basic tier rates. In this case, the FCC concluded that Comcast was subject to effective competition in Albuquerque and rate regulation was no longer necessary here. The FCC made this determination due to the presence of satellite television, a form of intermodal competition.

Still, the City’s authority to enact and enforce customer service standards related to billing practices, quality of service and technical capacity as conditions of the cable franchise remains intact.  Albuquerque has a strong Customer Bill of Rights, one that expressly prohibits “bait and switch” as well as negative option practices.  We encourage you to become familiar with the Bill of Rights’ protections and use them!

The Cable Franchise and Hearing Board offers a platform for the community to learn about the latest developments in cable television services, as well as to present their complaints, grievances and other concerns about these services, including PEG services. Even if you are not a Comcast cable television subscriber, you may be interested in issues that affect the entire community – issues such as internet availability, net neutrality, and locally produced PEG programs. Please explore the webpages for the Cable Franchise and Hearing Board to find notices of meetings, agendas and resolutions on these substantive issues. You will want to visit the Department of Arts & Culture webpage to stream local access PEG channels and learn more about public, educational and government access television.