Santa Barbara County Grand Jury
1100 Anacapa Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Re: Final Report on Santa Barbara City Cable TV Franchise
Dear Grand Jury Members:
This letter is to provide the City of Lompoc's comments on the Findings and Recommendations to Findings 1 and 2 in the above-referenced Grand Jury Report. Finding 1 of the Report notes that the County of Santa Barbara, and all cities in the County except Guadalupe, have franchises that will be renewed within the next five years. Recommendation 1 suggests that the County and the cities "...should start now to plan for their franchise renewals by studying available technological information and selecting the best qualified staff to head such important telecommunications review." Finding 2 notes that "Because of the rapidly changing telecommunications technology, the County of Santa Barbara and the cities need to work together to develop a common plan for telecommunication needs...", and the recommendation is that the County and the cities "...explore establishing a joint powers authority to develop regional telecommunications policies and long-term strategies."
In response to the foregoing, the City of Lompoc's cable TV franchise with Comcast Cablevision will expire on December 1, 2000. The expiration will coincide closely with the expiration of the County of Santa Barbara's franchise with Comcast Cable, as well as the franchises in Buellton and Santa Maria. The City intends to explore working with the County and the other cities when the time comes to begin renegotiation. It should be noted that under the federal law relating to cable television franchise renewals, the renegotiation process generally begins 36 months prior to expiration. (Section 626 of the Communications Act, reference 47 U.S.C. SS546).
The City is certainly aware of the need to plan and develop long-term strategies relating to telecommunication needs. There are, however, a tremendous amount of changes currently going on in the telecommunications industry. Given the rapidly changing technology and the timing of the next franchise renewal with Comcast, we are waiting for things to develop a bit more. It should be noted that City staff does meet periodically with representatives from the County of Santa Barbara and other cities served by Comcast and intends to continue to do so. Also, our staff and our Cable TV Committee continues to actively monitor developments in the telecommunications industry. Finally, a copy of the Grand Jury's Report and Recommendations has been submitted to the City's Cable TV Committee for its review and reference.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Grand Jury's Report.
Frank L. Priore