City and Comcast Release Additional Information/Data to Assist Parties Interested in Becoming a Third Party Operator (TPO) for a Public Access/Leased Access (PALA) Television Station

Posted on  07/31/2013 12:41 pm

The City of Wilmington and Comcast today released additional documents, data and information to assist individuals and entities that may be interested in replying to the City’s June 28 Request for Proposals (RFP) to operate and manage a Public Access and Leased Access (PALA) television station serving the Wilmington community.

The PALA television station will begin operations in April of 2014. Programming will be cablecast through the Comcast cable system using the Public Television Channel that is available to the City through the Federal Communications Commission as well as the City’s new 12-year franchise agreement with Comcast.

On June 28, the City issued the PALA RFP along with a copy of the City’s current franchise agreement with Comcast which was signed in November of 2012.

Today, the City and Comcast released a series of documents to assist those who may submit a response to the RFP. The City and Comcast will also present a second pre-bid meeting for interested parties on Tuesday, August 6, 2013, beginning at 10 a.m. in the Council Workshop Room on the 1st floor of the Redding City/County Building at 800 North French Street.

Council President Theo Gregory told interested parties at an initial voluntary TPO/RFP pre-bid meeting on July 12 that a second pre-bid meeting could be scheduled if needed. With today’s release of additional information, the Council President said all parties will benefit from another face-to-face meeting for a discussion of various issues related to the RFP.

The documents/data and other information released today include:

  • Responses to questions about the TPO/RFP or the RFP process submitted by the public;
  • Responses to questions about the TPO process that the City posed to its own attorneys who represented the City during the Comcast franchise negotiations and currently represent the City during the TPO/RFP process;
  • Comcast revenue information for Channel 28, which is a Comcast leased access television station;
  • Comcast expenditure information for Channel 28;
  • The current Comcast programming schedule for Channel 28;
  • A copy of the Comcast leased access contract and guidelines currently in use for leased access clients; and
  • The Comcast leased access rate schedule currently in use for leased access clients.

The documents, data and information are available for download at the City’s website at www.WilmingtonDE.gov/government/PALA

Responses to the RFP must be received by the City by 5 p.m. on Thursday, August 15.

The City’s Cable, Video and Telecommunications Commission (CVT Commission), which is comprised of representatives from the Williams Administration and City Council, will review documentation submitted by applicants and will meet with applicants during a series of public meetings in September and October.

The current timeline for the selection of a Third Party Operator calls for the CVT Commission to recommend a PALA TPO by October 31. The recommendation would then be sent to City Council for its review with approval anticipated sometime in December. Council will also be asked to approve contracts negotiated between the TPO and the City as well as a contract negotiated by the TPO with Comcast to operate the station. The TPO will then have a three month period beginning in January of 2014 to prepare to begin formal management of the public access and leased access channel starting in April of 2014.

With oversight provided by the City primarily through the CVT Commission and the Public Access and Leased Access Citizens Advisory Board (PALACAB) (a panel to be named in the near future), and Comcast, the TPO will assume the management of relevant assets owned by the City and Comcast, provide public and leased access television services to the community, and earn an operating income for itself under terms acceptable to the City and Comcast.