OH: State lets Cincinnati Bell offer cable TV in 3 counties

Posted on December 21, 2007 - 3:35pm.

from: The Enquirer

State lets Cincinnati Bell offer cable TV in 3 counties

Cincinnati Bell Inc. on Thursday became the third company in Ohio authorized to offer cable TV service under a new state law designed to encourage cable competition.

Bell, which acquired the 5,000-customer Lebanon cable system earlier this year, said it is evaluating its options and has no immediate plans to expand its cable service beyond the city of Lebanon and Turtlecreek Township.

"We see this authorization as a step in the process of evaluating our options for digital service using Lebanon Cable," spokeswoman Lisa McLaughlin said. The Lebanon municipal cable system, which Bell acquired for about $8.6 million, offers a full suite of digital TV services, video-on-demand, high definition TV and DVR service as well as a channel offering local community programming.

Earlier this year, Jack Cassidy, Bell's president and CEO, said the company considered bidding on Northern Kentucky cable provider Insight Communications Co., but concluded the price was too high.

Cassidy has told investors the 134-year-old telephone company, which has faced a growing challenge from Time Warner Cable and other Internet and wireless providers, will eventually offer video services in addition to landline, wireless, long distance and broadband services. One possibility, he said, could extend service to apartment and condominium communities in the fast-growing areas of Butler and Warren counties.

Previously, AT&T and Time Warner Cable received video authorizations from the Ohio Department of Commerce under the new law, which includes a number of consumer productions.

Senate Bill 117, signed by Gov. Ted Strickland in June, is designed to foster cable TV competition by letting companies authorized by the Ohio Department of Commerce offer cable without negotiating individual franchise agreements with local governments.

West Chester Township trustees, in what's expected to become a trend, this week began considering legislation that would allow it to collect fees from companies offering video in the township.

Cincinnati Bell's authorization includes all of Butler and Montgomery counties and 25 communities in Warren County. The Department of Commerce said 16 companies have submitted video applications since the law took effect Sept. 24.

( categories: OHIO | State Franchises )