Jackson Hts., New York, February 22, 2014 - When AOL bought Time-Warner in 2000, New York City recognized that a fundamental basis for the city’s awarding the franchise to Time-Warner Cable was being violated: Local ownership was being stripped away, with the city’s cable services  henceforth to be controlled by corporate interests in Virginia.

Luckily the city franchise agreement required city hall’s approval for an ownership transfer, and DoITT’s Commissioner Allan Dobrin negotiated for the provision of a competitive Internet Service Provider (ISP) in exchange for the city’s OK. And thanks to the Commissioner’s eagle eye New Yorkers using Time-Warner Cable now can choose from two ISPs, Time-Warner’s Roadrunner and service from Earthlink. 

Now, a decade later, a challenge to local ownership has arisen from Philadelphia based Comcast. But the 2010 franchise agreement the city negotiated with Time-Warner (long ago separated from AOL) allows for ownership transfer if consummated via the exchange of publicly traded shares (thank Mayor Bloomberg for this). New Yorkers with cable complaints can now take Amtrack to Philadelphia. (Image courtesy of Teamcoco.)

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Filed February 22nd, 2014 under Rant

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