Cable commission staff members are working to hammer out the details of a new 10-year cable franchise agreement with Comcast Corp., one of Multnomah County's largest media providers.

The current franchise agreements expire Dec. 31.

The Mt. Hood Cable Regulatory Commission, which negotiates and enforces cable service franchise agreements on behalf of customers in the cities of Multnomah County, has been negotiating for nearly two years with Comcast representatives on the new agreement.

Norm Thomas, who serves as Troutdale's representative on the commission, said there are still some negotiations on minor details going on between staff and Comcast officials, but he didn't think there were any major issues of contention.

The public comment period on the new agreement ended Tuesday, Sept. 27.

Thomas said the commission will vote on the new agreement Monday, Oct. 17. If approved, the commission will send it to each of the county's cities with the recommendation that they approve it, he said.

The new franchise agreement would be in effect from 2012 to 2021.

'All in all the new franchise is fairly close to what we have now' as far as the public benefit goes, he said, noting that most customers shouldn't see any difference in the level of service.

He said the commission was also able to maintain community media services, such as funding for MetroEast Community Media and Portland Community Media.

The proposed agreement also keeps grant funds and affordable network services for schools, libraries and public agencies.

If a city rejects the agreement, Thomas said, then Comcast would no longer have the authority to operate in that city.

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