"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
Alexander Hamilton

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Gilmanton Approves Cable Franchise Agreement with TDS Telecom

The story is here in today's Citizen. My interest is that Gilmanton also has a cable franchise agreement with Metrocast. Moultonboro's cable franchise agreement is currently with Time Warner Cable. Competition can be a good thing.
In addition to DSL broadband, TDS Telecom also offers cable and fiber internet service. Its cable service is available to approximately 580,000 people, making it the 25th largest provider of cable broadband in the U.S. by coverage area. Its fiber service is available to approximately 456,000 people, making it the 27th largest provider of fiber broadband in the U.S. by coverage area.

According to this recent press release, “With the success of TDS TV in other New Hampshire communities like Hillsborough and Henniker, we couldn’t be more excited to bring it to Alton and its neighboring communities,” says Julie Maiers, director of Marketing at TDS. “It means faster speeds, a new choice for TV service, and the opportunity for exclusive discounts.”
TDS is also bringing Fiberville™ to the communities. It’s a concept that rewards residents and neighborhoods with special offers and discounts once 15 percent of the neighborhood pre-registers for TDS TV service. When this happens, “Fiberville” status is achieved and each pre-registered household receives free HD for life and free installation.
Residents can go to TDSfiber.com to get updates on when TDS TV and 1Gig will be available, as well as track their neighborhood’s progress toward Fiberville status. Services will begin launching in nearby New Durham, Barnstead, Center Barnstead and Gilmanton in 2016.

Is TDS an option for Moultonboro, particularly those areas that have no or very poor service or for those that want an option other than TWC or satellite? It could be some leverage for Moultonboro to use in our contract talks with TWC and with a fair amount of cash in the Communications Technology Fund , maybe we can entice TDS to come to our region. We won't know unless we ask, 


Anonymous said...

Blogger, please ask. We pay dearly for internet from TWC. You must have read how TWC, Comcast and ATT&T up their speed at no increase in price once Google threatens their market. Prices should drop as the technology matures but all we see is price increases. Fairpoint offers 15meg service at half of the price of TWC if you are lucky enough to live close to one of the substations.

Fred Van Magness said...

I find TWC to offer very poor service at very high costs. Their TV offerings have numerous duplicate channels that they count in their advertisements to suggest you get a lot of channels, but in reality if you eliminated all the duplicates, your count would be substantially less. Their costs are excessive;y high for their triple play options. So like the previous respondent, I strongly suggest we actively explore alternatives to TWC. I saw how completion improved costs and offerings in MA once my former community engaged Verizon to come in and compete against Comcast. As it was said before, competition is always good for the consumer. Fairmont is not a reasonable alternative. So the time is now to be proactive in searching for a robust alternative to TWC. And it should not be just a negotiation ploy. Rather, it should be a solid attempt to have two suppliers in Moultonborough. Let's face it, TWC has been less than cooperative in providing services to areas that have low density. It is time to make sure they hear our response....by obtaining and signing up another supplier to compete. This is a great opportunity for the BOS to make change for the better as it impacts many. Let's not loose the opportunity. If timing is an issue, maybe we should consider only a short term renewal until the market competition is available. But a long term contract with a sole provider is not good news for Moultonborough subscribers. We have been down that road beforehand it has not been pleasant or rewarding ! Thanks for providing this information....it was a good "find". As you said, LET'S ASK and I say let's be aggressive, not hesitant.

Anonymous said...

Those of us on the Tuftonboro side of town only have TDS as an option for home phone service. Over the past 8 years or so, I have called to inquire about Internet and each time I was told "not yet". I gave up about a year ago when I was told there was no plan for high speed internet (only dial up) in the foreseeable future. I was also told that I would know when high speed was coming because we would see an influx in trucks working on the lines over an extended period. I have yet to see that, so it does make me wonder if they are actually looking to expand their services.

Broadband Bill said...

An inventory of internet options was made in 2014, during the town's Broadband speed test. It shows that TDS does not offer DSL to its Moultonborough customers. Too bad TDS hasn't extended its Fiberville offering here. Those with TDS phone service need to rely on TWC for internet, if cable is available.

The town has limited influence on the companies that offer internet services, as it is an unregulated industry, although sharing expansion costs might help. I don’t think you will see Fairpoint allowing TDS into its territory, so there is some, but limited value in funding its expansion.

Towns have slightly more influence over cable television services through a franchise, but less than many believe. I have not heard of a case where a town forces a change in cable TV providers. If the town refuses to sign a franchise renewal, the provider operates without one or threatens to shut off services. Metrocast could purchase TWC's cable plant if both parties agree, but don't hold your breath. You won't be seeing two cable companies on the poles.

Metro Wireless is technically available, but not financially viable in our town due to geography and limited market share opportunity.

TWC is in the process of being acquired and wasn’t responsive to the town's request for expansion pricing for the Brick Kiln project. It is practical for the town to help fund internet expansion in unserved areas of town, but it can only work with the companies that offer to expand.

On a similar note, since the town's Fairpoint expansion project in the Brick Kiln area, other unserved or underserved areas of town have been identified. Piecemeal expansion is not an efficient way to spend the town's Communication Fund, so hopefully those with bad internet service will help the town compile a service problem map by reporting it. That way, future projects that get the most bits for the buck can be planned.

Perhaps TDS can be convinced to expand, TWC will likely be interested after its acquisition and Fairpoint has already shown its willingness to work with the town. The town's power to act comes from its willingness to spend from the Communications Fund.

Moultonborough is unique, in that it has figured out a way to fund internet expansion with cable TV franchise fees. Ensuring that 100% of the town has at least reasonable internet service helps to improve property values and gives everyone the option to procure the benefits of 21'st century communications at a reasonable price.