Cox Cable not going anywhere

Council renews franchise for one more year

November 15, 2007 at 9:21 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

The St. Charles Parish council introduced an ordinance at its Nov. 5 meeting to extend Cox Cable's contract agreement for one more year, which will allow the parish more time to consider other cable television providers. Cox's nonexclusive cable franchise agreement with the parish expires Dec. 31.

"The negotiations have been slow, however with elections having taken place and a few seats to be decided, all parties felt trying to negotiate a new franchise agreement at the 11th hour would be difficult," Brad Grundmeyer, manager of public and government affairs for Cox Communications said.

A public hearing will be held Dec. 3 regarding the cable franchise agreement. Grundmeyer says Cox is looking forward to receiving the one-year extension.

"It will allow us time to negotiate for a multi-year agreement with the new council and parish administration in 2008," he said. "Over the past 15 years, any alternative cable provider could seek their own cable franchise with St. Charles Parish."

Grundmeyer says that should the parish opt to seek another provider, the residents would not be without Cox services, they would simply have a choice of a competitive provider once the parish found one. However, any newcomer would have to build its own cable network.

"Cox is continuing to offer its customers the latest in advanced telecommunications technology and services," Grundmeyer said. "For video subscribers, Cox is continuing to offer new and exciting channel offerings. Cox is expanding upon its high definition line-up and has launched nearly a dozen new HD channels in the past few months."

Grundmeyer says there's still more to come before the year's end.

"Although not regulated by the parish, Cox's telephone and Internet customers also enjoy the benefits of the company's advanced network," he said. "Cox's telephone customers are offered discounted statewide long distance services and advanced phone tools integrated into their Internet service."

Grundmeyer says Cox Internet customers continue to enjoy the best high speed Internet service in the nation, as recognized by PC Magazine's Readers' Choice award for the fourth time in five years.

According to Cox's agreement with the parish, Cox is required to address customer service complaints in a timely manner, make three cable channels available to public bodies in the parish, and provide personnel and equipment to televise council and school board meetings.

"To date, we have received no customer complaints regarding any issues with Cox," Grundmeyer said.

Cox officials have previously said they had planned to raise rates in 2005 after a substantial investment in the system, including a move to digital TV, but put off the increase for more than a year because of Hurricane Katrina.

"We're confident that we will work out a new long term agreement with the parish to offer St. Charles residents the same great services they enjoy from Cox. Cox does not have an exclusive cable franchise agreement with St. Charles Parish. Over the past 15 years, any alternative cable provider could seek their own cable franchise with St. Charles Parish."

Grundmeyer says Cox is very optimistic that an agreement will be reached.

"This is why the current franchise extension with the council is so important, so there will be no lapse in service to residential and business customers," he said.

View other articles written Shonna Riggs

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