Friday, October 08, 2004

Cable controversy still not resolved

An article in the The Ascension Citizen Online details an unsual conflict between a cable company and a local government.
The chairman of the parish's strategic planning committee said last week he is prepared to tell Cox Communication to "take there (sic) cable and leave" the parish if their do not agree to terms outlined by the council.
The immediate issue is the parish's desire to sell advertising on the government access channel.
(Councilman) Beiriger said Monday he refuses to allow a private company (Cox) to dictate "to us what we can and cannot do."
Lurking in the background, and not so far in the background, is the fact that impending competition is what emboldens this local government to suggest to Cox that they can take their cable and shove it. Normally defying the cable provider and suggesting they might pick up and leave would be politically risky. Suppose they did? What local government could stand the viewer anger?

What allows Ascension parish to defy Cox is that local telecom provider, EATEL, is currently laying down an optical fiber network to its customers, and is promising to be more cooperative when they start providing a competing cable TV service.

It's a new age adawning and Cox is slow to adapt. Both customers and local governments won't be so easily browbeaten when there is competition.

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