ViewPoint: Cable TV can be risky

April 3, 2007

We are now seeing financial setbacks in several South Georgia cities as a result of a city's government trying to compete with services already provided by private companies.

CNS is a city owned cable company, now operating in Thomasville, Moultrie, Camilla, and Cairo. Cairo just announced losses of one-half-million dollars each year, and a total debt of $12 million.

This all started with the mis-guided temptation by city leaders to create more revenue today, rather than living within the established budgets, or making the tough choices of cutting spending, jobs they were hired by us to do.

Also they dove head-long into an industry, the cable business, they did not fully understand. Their own officials have told us they did not fore-see Mediacom's many positive changes in fiber delivery and new services offered. How could they not know the number of subscribers moving to satellite delivery over cable?

They also missed the fact that phone company, now called the new AT&T, would be entering the cable business.

Huge debt is accrued to be paid years later, after those elected officials are out of office. The current leaders get a hall pass, because they did not create the problem. Who takes it on the chin? You the taxpayers.

Let's be clear, cities have absolutely no business getting into the business of attempting to displace established companies who are providing large tax revenues and thousands of jobs.