A bill was introduced in the Montgomery County Council this week that would authorize one or two cable television companies to bring their programs into the homes of county residents.
If the bill is passed, it would be about a year before franchises are awarded by the county and another year before residents receive cable television programs.
The council tentatively has scheduled a public hearing on the bill for June. The legislation could be approved as early as July, according to council members.
Montgomery County Executive Charles W. Gilchrist said that he would select the companies to receive the franchises and that it would be up to the council to approve his selections.
"Cable TV franchising has been an extremely controversial process in many communities," Gilchrist said in a memo to the council, "with intense lobbying from cable companies who are often represented by politically active local residents."
The price of cable television service would be between $100 and $180 annually per household, according to data supplied by the County Office of Management and Budget (OMB). By the third year of its operation, about 40 percent of the county's 204,300 households are expected to use the service, which will cost $40 million to install, according to OMB data.
The franchise companies would pay the county 3 percent of their revenues, giving the county an estimated $65,000 during the second year of operation and $443,000 during the eighth year of operation, according to the OMB.