GOSHEN—The Goshen Town Board held a public hearing and heard a presentation on Aug. 26 by Frontier Communications in its bid to compete with Time Warner, the only cable TV provider in the town, for cable television customers.
That day the Board also approved the company’s franchise agreement, which now goes to the state’s Public Service Commission for final approval. The company said in a statement that the town is the first municipality in New York to approve a franchise agreement for their cable TV service.
During the town’s public meeting, Frontier representatives noted that the company will upgrade equipment housed within its existing buildings without any disturbance to public rights-of-way.
The franchise fee the company will pay will generate additional revenue for town.
Time Warner Cable sent a letter to the Town Board asking that Frontier not be allowed to offer the service, said Deb Bogdanski, general manager of the company’s southern New York region.
“It should not come as a surprise to anyone,” Bogdanski said, “that the incumbent provider would prefer that we not be able to offer our services and compete with them here.”
At the close of the hearing, Town Supervisor Doug Bloomfield said competition would benefit town residents and that was one of the reasons he approved the bid.
Service and Pricing
Bogdanski gave an overview of the service and told the Board that Frontier will spend two years building the infrastructure needed to serve approximately 50 percent of the town. The service will come to a station in Monroe and be distributed throughout the town through fiber optic cables to homes.
Customers who use other Frontier services will experience no inconvenience, she said. “We will be augmenting and putting in electronics within our offices and within various remotes, but we are using the existing infrastructure that we have today.”
To get cable TV though Frontier, customers must also use their internet.
Jack Phillips, director of government and external affairs for the company, said that free cable service will be available to schools and other public buildings.
When questioned if the speed would be better than Dish Network, the satellite TV company Frontier contracted with to provide cable TV-like channels to their customers, Phillips said, “one of the additional benefits will be a significantly updated internet product.”
Music channels would be available through Frontier’s new service, called Vantage TV. There would be no local news channel available, only national broadcast news out of New York City.
Although there will be no special price package for senior citizens or low income customers, Phillips said the basic service bundle would fall in the price range for those demographics.
Bloomfield asked if the company would be able to cover up to 90 percent toward the end of the proposed ten-year contract and was told Frontier can guarantee only 35 percent coverage of the town with the possibility of 50 percent coverage if all goes according to plan.
Some provisions will be changed in the contract. Town Attorney Richard Golden recommended that the arbitration clause be removed as it often does not benefit a municipality when used. He also urged the outdated clause that the town prosecute in the event of cable theft, be removed.
Bloomfield said competition with Time Warner should be allowed as it is good for residents to have a choice. “The fact is when they [Time Warner] came in, there was no competition,” he said to the Frontier team. “I look forward to the competition that you’re going to give to this community.”
Frontier has presented contracts to other municipalities in the county including Middletown and Port Jervis.
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