County ratifies cable franchise deal

At Monday night’s Vance County Board of Commissioners meeting, the board voted to extend the county’s franchise agreement with Time Warner Cable for 10 more years.

County Manager Jerry Ayscue recommended that the agreement be accepted. The new franchise arrangement, he told the board, has two significant changes to the county’s benefit. One is that the agreement will run for 10 years rather than 15 years, with 10 years being the minimum length of an agreement allowed by state law. The other advantage to the county is that the houses-per-mile requirement is down from 25 to 18.

Houses-per-mile indicates the dwelling density that must exist from the nearest point of service for Time Warner to be required to offer service. In theory, homes that were not eligible for service by Time Warner under the previous arrangement may become eligible for cable offerings when the contract takes effect Nov. 16.

In contrast, the proposed Henderson franchise agreement requires that cable service be offered within the corporate limits of the city.

Brad Phillips, a regional vice president for Time Warner, was present to answer questions from the board. During discussion, Commissioner Deborah Brown inquired about wireless Internet service being offered in downtown Apex as part of a franchise agreement. Phillips responded that the wireless service was part of a separate commercial offering and that Time Warner’s commercial services group would be “happy” to discuss the matter with the county.

Brown expressed an interest in wireless service in downtown Henderson for the purpose of commercial development. Phillips indicated that such an agreement would be outside the current residential agreement and that it would be in the county’s best interest to shop around for the best price.

The motion to accept the franchise agreement was carried with Brown as the only dissenting vote.