Atlantic Broadband is being bought out.
And the City of Warren stands to get free internet at the municipal building as a result.
The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Cogeco Cable, a Montreal-based company, is purchasing Atlantic Broadband for $1.36 billion.
As part of the sale, Atlantic Broadband approached City Council on Monday night asking that the franchise agreement that is in place with the city be transferred to the new entity.
Council approved the transfer unanimously. The contract will run through 2015, but Assistant City Manager Mary Ann Nau said that negotiations on the next contract will likely begin in 2013.
Michael Papasergi, vice president and general manager of the Warren Atlantic Broadband office,told council that "everything should be pretty much the same" for customers. He also said that transferring the agreement will incur no additional costs.
And the municipal building will receive free internet service. Papasergi said he is, "currently working on that." Nau later said that the municipal building will receive free internet.
Councilman Jim Zavinski asked whether there will be any programming changes and Papasergi responded, "Nothing will change. (We will) continue to do business as we have."
Papasergi noted that Cogeco Cable is the fourth largest cable provider in Canada.
Nau said all of the documentation regarding the transfer has been reviewed by City Solicitor Andrea Stapleford.
"Why is the city involved?" Councilman Sam Harvey asked. Councilman John Lewis said that municipalities can issue franchises, "favored purchase status if you will."
He explained that the agreement was originally negotiated with Warner Cable before transferring to Atlantic Broadband. "It's been a while," Lewis added. "Now we're going through the maturation of that."
Mayor Mark Phillips said that it is a revenue source for the city.
The agreement allows cables to stretch across public property, such as streets, and is not exclusive, meaning that the city could enter into agreements with other providers if it chose to do so.
According to its website, Cogeco Cable was founded in 1972 and owns a host of radio stations throughout Quebec in addition to its cable ventures.
The Altoona Mirror reported earlier this month that Cogeco serves 877,000 cable customers throughout Quebec and Ontario.
"Atlantic Broadband Group, LLC was formed in 2003 and is the 14th largest cable television system operator in the United States," the company's website says. "It operates certain cable systems in Pennsylvania, Florida, Maryland, West Virginia, Delaware, South Carolina and New York."
The Wall Street Journal also reported that Cogeco Cable "said it will serve more than 1.1 million basic video customers across Canada an the U.S." once the sale is complete.