Council committee approves Comcast’s proposed franchise transfer to GreatLand Communications

A City Council committee approved a resolution Monday conditionally transferring Comcast’s franchise agreement in Minneapolis to GreatLand Connections — a new company the cable provider has proposed forming as part of acquiring Time Warner Cable.

Comcast’s bid to purchase Time Warner Cable still needs to be approved by federal regulators. It has proposed divesting several million subscribers and transferring them to a new cable provider to keep its share of the country’s pay TV market below 30 percent — a benchmark set in previous cable deals.

Comcast’s franchise agreement with the city runs through 2021, according to a report presented to the City Council’s Ways & Means Committee.

The Council committee also approved a franchise settlement agreement with Comcast negotiated by the city’s legal counsel. Under terms of the agreement, Comcast will pay the city $41,736.83 to correct an underpayment of franchise fees and an increase in monthly fees paid to the city per subscriber from $1.14 to $1.50.

The full Council is scheduled to vote on the resolution and settlement agreement on Jan. 30.