OXFORD – Competition is supposed to be the backbone of free enterprise, and in Oxford, the cable TV service is about to get some competition.
Aldermen voted Tuesday night to approve a contract that would allow AT&T to provide TV at some not-yet-decided date to parts of the city. Because the company would transmit signals over fiber-optic and phone cables, the agreement is not in conflict with the city’s contract with cable TV provider MetroCast.
“I think it’s important to have competition in this type of thing,” said Ward 6 Alderman Jon Fisher.
The ATamp&T contract runs for 10 years, providing the city with one-half of one percent of gross revenues along with telecommunications services at its schools after signing up 1,000 subscribers.
Oxford is working toward, in time, having all utilities underground, both to enhance the city’s aesthetics and to avoid storm-related outages.
While an AT&T representative said it was also his company’s intent to go underground, he said it must be done as it is “technically feasible and economically reasonable.”
Splicing fiber-optic cables is a more complex and labor-intensive process than splicing power, telephone or conventional cable TV wires, said board attorney Pope Mallette.
He added, however, that if the city abandons its poles, AT&T is not likely to want to take on the liability of owning them and would likely take its cables underground.
Metrocast’s Oxford manager, Rick Farrell, said his only objection to the agreement was that AT&T should be required to expand its service soon to most areas of the city rather than at its own pace.
Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal