It's a done deal.
After eight months of negotiations, Mayor Nutter on Tuesday signed off on a new 15-year franchise between the city and Comcast. The agreement gives Comcast the legal right to continue operating in the city in exchange for a cut of its revenue and a series of perks including an expanded discount program for Philadelphia seniors.
Comcast and city officials have described the agreement as among the best in the country. At a signing ceremony Tuesday, Adel Ebeid, the city's chief innovation officer and its lead negotiator, said he has heard from officials in other municipalities who were waiting for Philadelphia to finish its franchise renewal before signing their own with Comcast.
"And now the line, the tagline across the country is 'We want what Philadelphia got,'" Ebeid said.
The agreement includes added discounts for low-income Philadelphians, commitments to paying workers a living wage, and installation of a new network in more than 200 city buildings.
"It will in fact help to address the digital divide by providing more affordable access to the cities most vulnerable and needy populations; improve customer services standards; build capacity for and invest in public, educational and government access channels; and allow the city to do more business online over time using a high speed reliable data network for our city government, " Nutter said,
The terms and timelines for many of those initiatives have yet to be announced, and Ebeid said the next 18 months will be critical as "hundreds of tasks and activities" come together "in order for Philadelphia to realize the benefits of the deal."