Cable deals will become a state matter - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Cable deals will become a state matter

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February 14, 2007

Albany -- The Cable Television Franchise contract that Dougherty County signed 20 years ago expires in July.   The County Commission Chairman says they have been advised that the state will soon take over the regulation and franchising of cable TV across Georgia,   hopefully bringing better service and lower prices.  

Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard says he gets calls complaining all the time about cable television. "Probably every week I get one call, sometimes two calls regarding cable. Even though the county has a franchise contract with Mediacom, Commissioners can do virtually nothing about their service.

"No decision making powers over programming, you have no decision making power over the pricing. You don't even have the ability to handle even the service issues," Sinyard said.

State Representative Jeff Lewis, the Chair of the state Public Utility and Telecommunications Committees, has proposed a bill that would put the state in charge of all regulation and contracting of Cable, saying it would increase competition in that industry.

Sinyard says even if that meant losing some tax revenue for the county, he thinks it would be best for consumers. "Hopefully if it does pass, we want to make sure that competition is in place, so that we will have better service, we will have better programming, and we will have hopefully better rates."

There are currently about four thousand cable TV subscribers in the unincorporated portions of Dougherty County. The expiring contract paid the county $140,000 a year. The city of Albany signed a ten year franchise contract with Mediacom in 2001.

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