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Falls may reconsider cable deal

The City Council may send a message to Albany today asking the Public Service Commission not to approve a cable franchise agreement that city leaders struck with Adelphia Cable nearly two years ago.

The Council will vote on a resolution from Councilman Sam Fruscione that asks the city to begin new negotiations with Adelphia's replacement, Time Warner Cable, to continue to provide cable service to Niagara Falls residents.

The city leaders in December 2005 approved a renegotiated agreement, but Adelphia never submitted the document to the state's Public Service Commission for approval.

Now, both the mayor and the Council see the delay as a chance to renegotiate a deal they spent little time publicly discussing.

"We're looking into renegotiating that agreement," said Mayor Vince Anello. "Certainly with Time Warner, we have some new opportunities."

Earlier this year, Niagara Falls re-created a now-defunct cable commission to help oversee the process of renegotiating a franchise agreement, which can last up to 10 years. A new cable commission has three members, including the media education director for the Niagara Falls City School District's cable access channel.

Fruscione said he would like to see the city receive additional cable revenue from Time Warner, as well as an informational channel that could be used to give tourists in area hotels information about the city.

Time Warner spokeswoman Robin Wolfgang did not return a call to comment Friday but has said the company was not aware until earlier this year that its predecessor had not submitted the agreement to the Public Service Commission.

Time Warner acquired Adelphia's cable and Internet infrastructure in Western New York in 2006.


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