Tifton CityNet's future under evaluation - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Tifton CityNet's future under evaluation

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October 9, 2007

Tifton -- For nearly a decade now, CityNet has been a major cable, Internet, and telephone provider in the Tifton-Tift County area. The city fathers brought in the company in 1999, providing high speed Internet broadband to the city.

"The city, I think, did the citizens a great favor and service bringing it here. And secondly, it was enabling us to recruit businesses as well," said Tifton City Manager Mike Vollmer.

Currently, Tifton's CityNet provides 6,000 services to its customers who support the revenue provided to the company.

"We (the city government) do not fund them. They receive their money from customers. As their customer base grows, and it is growing today, they get more revenue they can invest in their infrastructure," said Vollmer.

But even with noticeable growth, CityNet, along with other city entities, have come under evaluation by Vollmer.

He said, "If you view us compared to other communities that only have one cable provider, our rates are substantially lower than in other communities that just have one provider. So we think we're doing a public service. But at the same time, we want to make sure our service pays for itself and has value for the customers and the citizens of our city."

With the digital service industry now becoming more competitive, one thing city officials will be looking into is the future of CityNet 5 -10 years down the road.

"What will the playing field look like? Will we have many other competitors in here? If so, how is our survivability and sustainability? That's the kind of things we're looking into," adds Vollmer.

And with 2 competitors already in the area, in a field that is continuing to grow, the future of Tifton's CityNet, for now, is based on what will happen in the future.

Vollmer will make a recommendation about Tifton's CityNet in a few months.

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