Comcast sweetens Seattle franchise renewal offer

When it comes to Comcast's (NASDAQ: CMCSA) local franchise deal, Seattle will have what Philadelphia is having.

The MSO has agreed to sweeten its franchise renewal offer to Seattle after the city caught wind of the terms agreed to by Philadelphia and began griping. 

Comcast agreed to increase its equity grant to provide Internet access to low-income seniors in Seattle from $50,000 to $500,000. It also agreed to help partner with the city to help disadvantage kids obtain laptops and Internet access.

Seattle's CTO, Michael Mattmiller, said that the renegotiated deal is now "a lot closer" to the deal carved out last week in Comcast's home city of Philadelphia, according to The Seattle Times.

The Seattle City Council was poised to renew a 10-year franchise deal with Comcast on Monday but after getting wind of what the cable giant was offering Philadelphia, city officials delayed their vote and pressed the company for a better deal.

In a letter to Comcast on Friday, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and Council member Bruce Harrell said that the City Council wouldn't approve the new cable franchise deal for Comcast in Seattle unless the city received benefits similar to what Comcast offered Philadelphia.

Comcast's franchise deal with Philadelphia was announced Dec. 3 after eight months of negotiations with the city. As part of that deal, Comcast said it will expand its subsidized broadband program, Internet Essentials, to seniors and will provide up to $2.7 million over the next five years to allow other low-income Philadelphians to enroll in the subsidy program as well. In addition, the company pledged to give $20 million over the next 15 years to support local public, government and educational programming channels, which is $2 million more than what Comcast originally offered.

For more:
- read this Seattle Times story
- read this GeekWire story

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