Why don’t we have more cable and internet options?

By Brian Piscacek, Assistant to the City Manager/Special Projects

Contrary to popular belief, the City of College Station does not limit local cable television or internet service options.

So why doesn’t our community have more choices?

First, the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) grants cable and telecommunications franchises at the state level. The city of College Station has nothing to do with it.

From there, market forces come into play. Generally speaking, new providers find it cost-prohibitive to enter a market where an established franchisee already has the necessary infrastructure in place. In our case, the local cable franchisee has built its vast infrastructure over many years.

That’s why Suddenlink Communications is our community’s primary cable TV and internet provider.

Suddenlink’s infrastructure is located in the city’s public right-of-way, a publicly-owned space through which authorized telecommunications and cable companies provide their services. In return, companies such as Suddenlink pay quarterly franchise fees to the city.

A competitor is free to invest in our market and offer those services. In fact, a handful of smaller internet and telecommunications providers are available in parts of our area.

If you have questions about your bill or concerns about your service, your best bet is to contact the company. Even the PUC doesn’t maintain regulatory authority over cable television service, despite issuing the franchises.

 


About the Blogger

Brian Piscacek has been with the City of College Station since 2012 and has served as assistant to the city manager for special projects since early 2019. He was previously a community development analyst. Before coming to College Station, Brian worked for Texas Tech and the North & East Lubbock Community Development Corporation. He earned bachelor’s (2007, Political Science/History) and master’s (2009, Public Administration) degrees from Tech.


 

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3 responses

  1. keaswaran

    Has the city or county considered providing a public option to compete with Suddenlink, the way that many other communities around the country have? This map shows dozens of cities that have already done this, from Lafayette, LA to Tacoma, WA, to Chattanooga, TN. It also claims that the City of College Station in fact already owns some fiber infrastructure that is currently unused and might be usable for this purpose:

    https://muninetworks.org/communitymap

    October 15, 2019 at 11:54 am

    • Colin Killian

      Thanks for the comment! Our apologies for the late response.

      Chapter 54, Subchapter E of the Texas Utilities Code prohibits municipalities from providing services already offered by telecommunications companies. Our fiber infrastructure serves city facilities and is not intended to be used as a public option for municipal broadband services.

      October 24, 2019 at 3:51 pm

  2. Pingback: No Interest From The Cities Of Bryan/College Station In Creating New Cable TV/Internet Franchises | WTAW

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