Carbon's lawmakers postpone television franchise agreement
Carbon County commissioners tabled a television franchise agreement request last Tuesday as they reviewed a 30-year contract proposal from local telecommunications provider, Carbon-Emery Telcom.
Commissioner John Jones took issue with several points of language in the contract, including the county's culpability in any damage that might takes place within the communication company's infrastructure.
"I don't want to see Carbon County be responsible for the collection of any fees incurred because of damage to your lines," said Jones.
Speaking on behalf of Carbon-Emery Telcom was Beau Stoker, marketing and external relations assistant. He stated that his understanding of the proposed contract was that the language was only there to provide for the criminal prosecution of any wrongdoing against the company's property.
"That's fine," said Jones. "But I, in no way, want public monies used for the collection of damage to a private businesses lines."
Another point of contention, was the issue of whether or not the service would be offered to all residents within the Carbon County area.
"I have concerns that if we are going to grant a franchise license to your company then the company make the service availible to the whole county," said Commissioner Mike Milovich. "I have concerns about you wanting to take the cream out of the middle and leave the edges out of the mix."
According to Stoker, there are still areas in the county that Carbon-Emery Telcom has not been able to reach with service lines, mostly due to remote locations. He reassured the commission that the company's reach expands on a daily basis as the business tries to cover the entire Castle Valley.
"Right now, those who do not have Internet service available to them would not be able to have the television service," said Stoker. "Because the signal would come into their home through the copper in the existing lines but we have an ongoing commitment to provide service to everyone."
During a Nov. 10 telephone interview, Stoker commented on several of the communication company's plans concerning the television franchise.
"We are looking to provide a Dish Network or Direct TV type of package," said Stoker. "That would also include a local station."
Stoker reported that the local TV broadcast would include area sporting contests, cooking and hunting shows.
"We have developed a studio here at the office, where the cooking show would be produced and the service would also include the ability for users to access the Internet through their television with a wireless keyboard," explained Stoker.
The company representative reported that Carbon-Emery Telcom plans to start testing the television station through employees and go public with the service by January 2009.
"If testing goes very well, there is a chance that we could launch the product during this holiday season. But as things stand ,we are shooting for the beginning of 2009," said Stoker.
For that to happen there are several issues that must be ironed out with the commission.
Commissioner Milovich reported via telephone interview on Monday, that he would like to see a provision in the contract that offered the service at no charge to those within the public domain, such as police stations, schools and public libraries.
He further stated that the outreach of the service was very important to his backing the agreement.
"I think everyone who wants the service should have the ability to access the service, concluded Milovich. "That is a vital part of any franchise agreement as far as I'm concerned."
After both parties have had a chance to review the wording in the contract and address the aforementioned issues the franchise agreement will once again be brought before the commission for possible approval.