Cable One seeks renewal of contract 7/9/2013

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Cable One seeks renewal of contract

By John Howell

Cable One has improved its system, reduced trouble calls and is poised to provide its cable television, internet and phone service to Batesville customers on the east side of I-55, local spokesmen told city officials at the July 2 board meeting.

Batesville Cable One manager Sandy Melton prefaced the company’s request for a 15-year franchise agreement with a description of recent and planned improvements.

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Cable One pays the city three percent for a non-exclusive franchise agreement in the city. The city last signed a five-year agreement in 2005 that was not renewed in 2010, she said.

However, Cable One has continued to pay the three percent franchise fee which brings about $33,000 annually to the city, she said.

“It’s a pass-through; we collect it and give it back to the city,” Melton said.

Improvements include the installation of new cable, “that rodents do not like to eat, … which is really going to be a big help to us because, if squirrels eat the cable and it rains it causes a bad interference in the signal.”

Cable One has also recently “swept and balanced our plant, which means we optimized everything and made sure all of our services were working properly,” Melton said, resulting in a 25 percent reduction in trouble calls systemwide.

Last month, Cable One installed fiber optic cable under I-55 to reach the new hotel on the east side of I-55, “so that gets us in a position to go to other businesses that are interested in our internet and our other services,” Melton said.

Other plans for 2013 include amplifier replacements in the system, “that will really improve our plant and make us capable of technology that probably doesn’t exist today,” the Cable One manager said. The company also plans to offer the TiVo digital video recorder to its customers, she said.

“What I would ask you for today is a 15-year franchise so that we would be able to make the investments we’ve been discussing with confidence,” she said.

Aldermen voted to take the Cable One request under advisement to allow assistant City Attorney Colmon Mitchell to review the contract.

“You’ll probably have an answer in three weeks,” Mayor Jerry Autrey told Melton, referring to the “second Tuesday” meeting of Batesville’s mayor and aldermen which has been rescheduled until July 23 to avoid conflict with the Mississippi Municipal League (MML) meeting that several city officials plan to attend.

Later in the meeting, discussion among aldermen returned to the 15-year request.
“Fifteen years is a long time,” Alderman Bill Dugger said.

“Can we do anything more than four years in our term anyway?” Alderman Teddy Morrow asked.