Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cox, Sun Valley work on contract

City considering franchise agreement for cable provider


By REBECCA MEANY
Express Staff Writer

With three months remaining on a franchise agreement extension between Cox Communications and the city of Sun Valley, a committee working to resolve issues with the cable provider reports that meetings so far have been productive.

Nils Ribi, a Sun Valley city councilman and member of the committee, presented an interim report to fellow council members at a meeting on Thursday, Sept. 15.

This summer, the council granted Cox Communications, which provides cable and Internet services to cities in the Wood River Valley, a five-month extension before considering whether to renew its long-term franchise agreement. Some residents and city officials have suggested finding other options for service due to what they describe as inferior technical quality and customer service.

The committee's goal is "to help the City Council by drafting a set of comprehensive, fair and measurable requirements and parameters for a new franchise agreement to be considered by the City Council," he said.

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The committee's five members—Ribi, Councilman Bob Youngman, Kevin Laird, Harry Griffith and Jim Knight—have met three times since the committee's formation.

"Those have been very productive meetings," Ribi said.

Members compiled questions from a July public hearing, from council members and the mayor, and the committee, and submitted those to Cox.

The committee is now reviewing Cox's responses, Ribi said, and will meet with Cox representatives in the next week to go over the information.

The committee also will review sample franchise agreements from other resort communities before making suggested modifications to the new agreement.

"Cox is proud of its many years operating in Sun Valley and the Wood River Valley—proud of the network we have built, the services we provide, the jobs we provide valley residents, and how we support the community," Guy Cherp, Cox's vice president of Sun Valley Operations, wrote in a Sept. 7 letter to Ribi. "We are committed to working with you to reach a franchise renewal agreement prior to December 15."

Rebecca Meany: rmeany@mtexpress.com




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