But fair is fair. EATel has apparently decided that its role as a rural incumbent phone company should allow it to act like the big boys. Like AT&T everywhere little EATel is balking at cutting the same "serve the whole community if you want to use our rights-of-way" deal with the village of Sorrento that any other cable company would have to cut. From the Advocate story:
A broken clock is right twice a day and Kleinpeter and Cox are right about this. And I was wrong to think EATel too local and loyal to try and run such a scam — though I was right to think that the Sorrento Council would resist. [It should be noted that there is more than a whiff of hypocrisy about Cox's objections: Cox's late endorsement of the state-wide video franchise that BellSouth/AT&T proposed came about when they were included in the list of companies that could ignore a local community's demand of service for all citizens in return for the use of those citizen's property. Cox would have been wiser not to encourage the competion to cherry-pick then; they'd be more credible now.]
Town Attorney Greg Lambert told the council at its meeting Tuesday that Cox Communications, currently the only provider in the area, asked that Eatel be held to the same agreement provisions as Cox.
Lambert said Eatel has agreed to all of the same provisions except the density requirement, which requires Cox to provide service to any house within 300 feet of a distribution system, and any area that has 50 residences within one cable mile or 10 residences within a quarter of a cable mile.
Sharon Kleinpeter, a vice president at Cox Communications, told the council that Eatel and Cox should operate under the same standards.
EATel already has to run its copper into every home and has been profiting off the people of Sorrento for generations...it is resisting upgrading a few people who have been loyal customers to marginally increase their overall profit in a new market.
Emulating AT&T is not the way to go for a progressive local firm whose greatest asset is the belief that it is more likely to care about the local community than outside monopolies. Stuff like this squanders their core advantage and is lousy business even if it weren't unethical.
Let's hope the Sorrento Council holds firm and returns EATel to its better self.