Cable One deal stalled
by Denise Strub
Feb 08, 2013 | 1086 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It may be another month before the Cleveland Board of Aldermen makes a decision on renewing its franchise agreement with Cable One, the provider of subscription-based cable television to the residents of the city and its surrounding areas.

The board was to discuss the contract in executive session following the meeting but failed to do so due to time with other matters.

At this month's board of aldermen meeting, Sandi Melton, general manager of Cable One in Cleveland, updated the board on technology and other issues at the local office.

However at the end of her presentation, she asked again, on behalf of the company, for a 15-year contract with the city.

Cable One originally asked for a 15-year contract when it's initial 10-year contract with the city expired at the end of 2011.

Due to resident complaints about service, loss of state channels and other issues, the board agreed to a month-to-month agreement.

"I thought we had almost come to terms on a five-year contract now you're asking for 15," said Alderman Maurice Smith.

"Wasn't our last contract for 10 years," asked Alderman Paul Janoush.

Melton said going into a longer contract would allow Cable One to focus on service and upgrades rather than on negotiations.

She said the FCC requires that negotiations begin again 36 months after signing the contract.

Melton told board members Cable One has been spending a lot of money in the area to provide better service and be prepared "for the future demands of technology."

She advised the board that business in Cleveland have seen an increase in internet speed due to being put on a separate node from residential areas. She also said that businesses north of Miss. Highway 8 would soon have their own node.

Melton added that during the recent economic hardship, Cable One in Cleveland had not laid off any employees.

"We take care of our people. We want to be good corporate citizens," she said.

Smith asked about a public service station for the city and informed that no extra channels were available at this time because this area has both analog and digital channels taking up space.

However, the plan is for everything to be digital by the end of the year.

For residents of Cleveland, the battle with Cable One began in 2008 when the provider dropped channels out of Jackson, Arkansas and Memphis.

A public forum was held in January 2012 and many residents expressed complaints.

Melton said although she was not general manager at the time, she was at that meeting and every resident with an issue had been personally contacted and efforts had been made to mend the issue.