Elburn crafting new cable franchise contract for Mediacom

By on October 23, 2009

Company is village’s only option
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—A village survey indicated many residents are unhappy with their cable service from Mediacom. Village officials said they plan to renew the company’s franchise contract, however, because they have no other option.

Village officials would like other cable providers to seek the franchise, but so far, none have.

“We would welcome any other company to come in … there is really not another choice,” Planning Commissioner Paul Molitor said.

It is too expensive for other companies to start up cable service in the village, Assistant Village Administrator David Morrison said.

For the past 10 years, Mediacom has provided cable service under its contract with Elburn, which expires next year.

In recent years, some residents have chosen to obtain cable through a satellite dish rather than from Mediacom. Chapman said about 45 percent of Elburn households currently are Mediacom subscribers.

Along with establishing a new franchise contract, the village is revising its cable ordinance. The new ordinance will require the village cable provider to offer service throughout Elburn, including less populated areas.

Mediacom currently does not provide service to some areas of the village, including Blackberry Creek.

“Those residents have had no choice. They had to get satellite,” village cable consultant Stu Chapman said.

The new ordinance also will require the cable provider to offer community and educational access channels.

In addition, the ordinance will allow the village to fine its cable provider if the company does not meet customer service standards stated in the contract.

Any company providing cable service in Elburn must be franchised by the state or the village.

AT&T has the state franchise for providing cable, but does not offer cable service in Elburn.

Under a new law designed to boost competition in the industry, AT&T may offer cable and Internet service to any community, without requiring the municipality’s approval.