Laramie's City Council may be ready to look at renewing a 10-year franchise agreement with Charter Communications after Council members unanimously voted down the measure last month.

Charter representatives refused to agree to annual performance review meetings which would have allowed the City to better advocate on behalf of residents and businesses affected by recent service outages, so the City Council opted instead to allow Charter the easement on a month-to-month basis only. Now, it looks like Charter may be willing to step up to the plate.

City Councilor Joe Shumway says he has spoken with members of Charter’s regional management and he believes the company will agree to the annual review.

“If we can get an agreement for annual review, I think we’re willing to go forward at least to reconsider a franchise agreement with them,” says Shumway.

Ordinance No. 1930 is set to be reconsidered in a third and final reading at the City Council’s Tuesday meeting. The Council may postpone following reconsideration to April 19, in order to give adequate notice for public comment.

“We… want [Charter] to know that if the service deteriorates we want to have them come to the table and sit down with us and talk about what they’re offering so that we don’t get tied into something that would be an agreement that really has no benefit for the customers that they have,” says Shumway.

The franchise agreement allows Charter to operate their infrastructure within the City’s right-of-way -- it does not address service problems. But City Council members voted unanimously March 15 against renewing the agreement until Charter agreed to be held accountable for quality-of-service issues that the company was initially unwilling to discuss with City officials.

Shumway says Charter representatives indicated that the company installed new equipment within the past 90 days, and customers should have seen improvements within the past 30 days.

“So we’re kind of waiting to see if the complaints are starting to become fewer and fewer,” says Shumway.

Charter Communications did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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