By Robbie Ward/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Comcast, DirectTV and Dish Network television channel providers in Tupelo will likely have a new competitor with AT&T in the future, but not immediately.
Representatives with AT&T met with the City Council during a work session on Tuesday to begin discussions related to bringing the company’s U-Verse television, Internet and phone system to the area. While the City Council was receptive to having the service in Tupelo, the first step involves complicated legal agreements.
“Don’t hold your breath for it,” said Sue Sperry, spokeswoman for AT&T Mississippi, who was not at the meeting. “There’s a whole lot of infrastructure that has to be built before we can begin marketing it.”
Vague in offering a timeline, Sperry said offering the television service to the area would likely take more than a year.
When the service is offered, the city of Tupelo would receive a video fee paid from the communication company, the same 2 percent of gross revenues in the area that Comcast currently pays.
Offered already in more than 50 areas in Mississippi, AT&T’s U-Verse allows customers to watch programming on smartphones and iPads, along with providing a variety of features for television, including wireless features.
U-Verse Internet and phone service already exists in limited parts of the city.
Companywide, AT&T reports 4.3 million U-Verse television subscribers in September 2012.
City Council members said they welcomed it to Tupelo.
“This gives the city an alternative to what’s here now,” said City Council President Fred Pitts. “The public will make a decision whether or not it’s a good deal.”
Pitts said the proposed agreement likely won’t appear before the council to approve anytime in the near future.