Cable ONE contract expiringPublished 12:13am Friday, August 24, 2012
NATCHEZ — The 10-year franchise agreement between the city and Cable ONE is set to expire next week, and Ward 3 Alderwoman Sarah Smith foresees the contract being renewed but maybe not for 10 years.
Smith, who is chair of the city’s health and utilities committee, said she asked City Attorney Hyde Carby to check into whether the city can shorten the time for the next agreement.
“Technology is changing so fast, I just don’t see us having any contract for as long as 10 years,” Smith said.
The city’s current franchise agreement with Cable ONE was for 10 years.
John Hilbert, general manager for the Natchez Cable ONE office, said 10 to 15 years is usually standard for cable contracts.
Hilbert said a different group of city officials are in office than were 10 years ago when the franchise agreement was put in place, so the current officials may want different terms in the agreement.
“The city is looking at the agreement now, and when they’re ready to discuss it, we’ll both come together and bring everything to the table,” he said.
One of the issues the city has been trying to work out, Smith said, is having a set schedule for when Cable ONE will air the board of aldermen meetings.
Smith said she believes the meetings will be aired mid-morning and evenings on the Wednesdays after the Tuesday meetings.
Hilbert said when Cable ONE airs the meetings depends on when the city provides the tape to the company.
Smith requested Cable ONE provide the city with the company’s complaint log quarterly so the city could know any complaints about service.
“It’s to make sure were on top of (the agreement), and if there is something repetitive or something they’re not taking care of, we can make sure we know,” Smith said.
The city, Hilbert said, receives a 5 percent franchise fee through the agreement, which Hilbert said is the maximum allowed.
Customers in years past have complained about Cable ONE service in the area, and Smith said the city looked into other cable providers but has not encountered a lot of other options.
“We’re not going to be on the top of the radar for every service to be here,” Smith said.