Cable Committee works on franchise agreement

By Megan R. Price

   Members of the Carter County Cable Committee met with representatives from Comcast Cable Communications Inc. at last night's monthly meeting. Members discussed the renewal of a franchise contract that was last negotiated in 1991.
   Members requested that Comcast reduce the contract from 15 to 10 years, and that the number of homes per mile requirement be reduced from 30 to 25 homes. The request met with no opposition from Comcast, and Cable Committee members hope to have a new franchise ordinance drawn up by their next meeting, Feb. 25, at 10 a.m.
   Area Manager of Government Affairs for Comcast, Russell Byrd answered some of the members' concerns with current cable conditions in the county. Servicing homes in remote areas was one of the committee's concerns. "Sometimes it is a little more difficult to get to that last house depending on what the amplifier number is," Byrd said. "I would like to say that we are in the business of serving people instead of telling them that we cannot serve them." Byrd told committee members that he would submit a list of roads and areas that do not get cable service to engineers at Comcast to see what it would take to service them. Comcast serves 2,000 homes in Carter County.
   Charter Communications and Comcast are currently the only two cable companies that serve Carter County. There were as many as six cable carriers in the county before Charter Communications expanded.