Valdosta considers city cable system - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Valdosta considers city cable system

City Manager Larry Hanson City Manager Larry Hanson
Medicom's Don Zagorski Medicom's Don Zagorski

June 19, 2003

Valdosta - Most Valdosta residents pay their monthly cable bill to Mediacom. But they could soon have another option.

The city of Valdosta is considering its own cable system. "Our initial plans were to include cable TV, high speed Internet service, and telephone service," said Larry Hanson, City Manager.

City Manager Larry Hanson says Valdosta needs cable competition, and the city's system would provide people with an affordable, convenient plan. "The main reason people should choose our service is because the money will go back into the community that they live in, eventually saving taxpayer money," said Hanson.

Workers at Mediacom argue their services do the same. "Every dollar we earn goes back into our infrastructure, so that we can make improvements and add more to our cable services," said Don Zagorski, Operations Vice President. "It doesn't just go into someone's bank account."

Operations Director Sally Bloom doesn't think a city cable system is fair competition. "We're in a very unfortunate position because the city regulates us, and would also be our competition" said Bloom.

But Hanson disagrees. "They pay us a franchise fee and for the city services they receive, but we have nothing to do with their rates and services," said Hanson. "That's all regulated by the FCC."

The city is looking at other areas with their own cable systems to weigh the pros and cons of the plans. Zagorski says that should be reason enough to not pursue the idea. "Tifton and Thomasville has both filed losses, and to me that doesn't seem like a smart business plan," said Zagorski.

City officials stress that they're only in a fact finding phase of the plan, and more studies will be conducted before they reach a decision.

posted at 3:45 by ashley.harper@walb.com