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Cable Television (CATV) Franchise Agreements

This page contains information about cable television (CATV) franchise agreements for local governments in Washington State, including examples of cable franchise agreements and links to federal regulations and other documents.

It is part of MRSC's series on Telecommunications.

Federal Regulations

Cable television franchise agreements are governed by federal law rather than state law and are negotiated with the cable company. Cable TV franchise fees may be levied at a rate up to 5% of gross revenues from the franchise area every year (47 U.S.C. §542(a) and (b)).

New FCC order: On August 2, 2019, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed a new order that will restrict local government cable franchise fees and agreements. In particular, the order:

  • Requires local governments to count most non-monetary "in-kind" contributions toward the maximum 5% franchise fee.
  • Preempts and prohibits local governments from regulating most non-cable services, such as broadband Internet, that are offered over cable systems.

The ruling was published in the Federal Register on August 27 and takes effect September 26, 2019, although appeals and further litigation are expected.

For full details, see the FCC website: FCC Enforces Franchising Laws to Promote Broadband Deployment.

Examples of Cable Franchise Agreements

Below are examples of local government cable TV franchise agreements in Washington. However, be advised that these franchises may not be in compliance with the 2019 FCC order described above. We will be adding new examples as they become available.

Master Cable Franchise Ordinances

Agreements with Comcast

Agreements with Other Cable Providers

Requests for Proposals

Recommended Resources

Last Modified: April 02, 2021