The D.C. City Council has moved another step toward bringing cable television to Washington, but the advent of cable service remains about two years away.
The council gave final approval Tuesday to a bill to set up a 28-member commission that will recommend development, design and regulation criteria that cable companies would have to meet in order to win the city's potentially lucrative franchise.
Mayor Marion Barry is expected to sign the bill, according to an aide, even though he has expressed reservations about some of its provisions, including one giving the council authority to select the winning cable company.
The bill would then have a 30-day layover in Congress before becoming law. The design commission, with 21 members appointed by the council and seven by the mayor, would have 90 days from the time it was established to write a proposal outlining requirements that cable firms are expected to incorporate in their bids.
Officials said they believe it will take at least two years for the commission to do its work, the council to select a bidder and the winning company to begin offering cable service.
One member of the commission will be appointed by each of the 13 council members. In addition, the chairmen of the council's eight standing committees also will be allowed to select a second member.
Council member Wilhelmina J. Rolark (D-Ward 8), chairman of the council committee that drafted the bill, will choose the potentially powerful chairman of the commission, a power that both Barry and Council Chairman Arrington Dixon had sought.