Because cable and telecommunications expertise can be expensive, we pool together resources to make such a high-end service affordable for you. That allows us to provide you a wide variety of services including franchise fee reviews, franchise fee management, and expertise for any negotiations with cable and telecommunications companies. As your advocate, we’ll review your current situation to see if you might be losing money from unpaid franchise fees. You might also need expert assistance dealing with legal and regulatory issues related to cable and telecommunications companies. With over 20 years of expertise, we’ve got plenty of experience dealing with those companies on your behalf.
Services and Benefits
In your dealings with cable and telecommunications companies in relation to a state or local franchise issue, rights of way usage, or day-to-day service, do you:
- Receive the maximum amount of your franchise fees allowed by law?
- Believe that rights of way are effectively managed by these companies?
- Hear numerous complaints from citizens about cable or telecommunications service?
- Fully understand the financial and legal ramifications when companies place equipment on municipal property?
If you have doubts or your answer is “no” to these questions, then call GMA today for a free consultation.
We will review your current situation to see if you might be losing money or if you need expert assistance dealing with legal and regulatory issues related to cable and telecommunications companies.
Your low annual fee includes the following services.
Franchise Fee Reviews
We often find underpaid fees from cable and telecommunications providers due to negligence, change of accounting personnel and/or accounting systems, or changes in laws that impact what companies should be paying. In a franchise fee review, we work with the cable or telecommunications company on your behalf to:
- Collect and review detailed information about the company’s revenues, calculation and remittance of franchise fees, financial statements, billing reports, and number of subscribers.
- Compare the company’s franchise fee remittance against what is owed to the city in accordance with applicable state or local law.
- Assist the City in recovering any underpaid fees to the city.
Cable and telecommunication laws are ever changing at the federal and state level. Plus, cable and telecommunications companies often approach cities with new proposals, new deals, and new information – without clear, easy-to-understand explanations.
Without an expert to stay on top of this information, you can find yourself failing to collect the proper fees owed you or failing to negotiate a deal that serves the best interests of your city – which could cost your city tens of thousands of dollars and possibly put your assets at risk.
On an ongoing basis, we provide:
- Proactive recommendations, when appropriate, to strengthen existing cable and telecom agreements and explore ways that cities can recoup or negotiate for more money in accordance with applicable state or local law.
- Experienced consultants ready to negotiate with cable and telecommunication companies on your behalf.
- Right-of-way management to ensure cable and telecommunication companies access, use, and repair city property in a cost-effective, lawful manner.
- Assistance in resolving consumer complaints from cable companies.
- Assistance with franchise renewals and negotiating a local franchise.
- Assistance in understanding state franchise laws.
- Management of all your cable and telecommunication franchise fees.
- Regular reviews and updates on all existing cable and telecommunications laws and industry changes that affect you.
- Assistance with negotiating pole attachment agreements.
Cellular Tower Lease Negotiations
GMA will also help you with any cellular tower lease negotiations with telecommunication providers. Our industry knowledge, surveys, databases, and research into local and national rates helps us negotiate with companies to make sure they are paying you appropriate fees for using your city owned facilities and that lease agreements are drafted for the benefit of the municipality.
For budget-conscious cities, legal fees related to cable and telecommunications franchising can be expensive and inconsistent. As your municipal advocate, we pool together resources and expertise to make such a high-end service affordable and predictable for you. Reach out to us for more information about costs.
How It Works: Franchise Fee Payment Compliance Audit
For the use of city property, cable and telecommunications companies must pay cities a franchise fee—no different than paying rent for the use of land or a building. With so many complex and changing state and local franchise fee laws, combined with the difficulty of staying on top of franchise fee collection, cities sometimes unfortunately don’t collect the correct amount of revenue from these companies.
How It Works: Cellular Tower Lease Negotiations
Guiding a city through a cellular tower lease negotiation requires a lot of knowledge and an understanding about what companies will and will not agree to. Otherwise, cities might not realize when they are placed at a disadvantage by a lease agreement.
Meet GMA’s Consultant: Greg Fender
Greg Fender provides technical assistance to local governments on negotiating franchise and pole attachment agreements with companies that utilize a city’s right of way and facilities. He also assists cities in figuring out how they can maximize the revenue collected from companies that use their public right of way. For Greg, it’s important to make sure local governments are compensated the correct amount of money and that companies comply with local ordinances.
Cities Should Be Prepared for ‘Small Cells’
Many cities have worked with telecommunications companies that want to place equipment on water tank towers and cell towers on public rights of way. As these telecommunications companies increasingly compete for better wireless coverage, they have begun to rely more on specialty companies that are now starting to approach cities about placing “small cells” in the public rights of way.
How Cable and Telecommunications Expertise Saved the Day in Cleveland
No matter what size your city, if you’re growing and developing then you likely don’t have time to keep track of cable and telecommunications laws and trends. Even larger cities usually don’t have staff to keep up with this area. While GMA had helped the city on many occasions, the GMA’s Cable and Telecommunications Management Services program really impressed Cleveland City Clerk Connie Tracas earlier this year.
Franchise Fee Audit Finds $5,000 for Hartwell
David Aldrich, City Manager of Hartwell, Georgia, had GMA audit Comcast’s franchise fee payments for the years 2010-2012. The result? The city recovered approximately $5,000 in unpaid fees. For a small city like Hartwell, that’s not an insignificant amount of money.
Oxford, Verizon See a Win-Win Thanks to GMA's Cell Tower Negotiation
When approached by Verizon about putting an antenna on Oxford, Georgia’s water tank tower, Bob Schwartz realized the upcoming negotiation required expertise that went beyond his knowledge. Since Oxford already participated in GMA’s Cable and Telecommunications Management Service, Schwartz was pleased to find out that such negotiations were covered under that service.