Ludlow Board of Selectmen renews cable license with Spectrum
LUDLOW – With the contract expiring, Ludlow’s board of directors held a public hearing for the renewal of the cable contract with Spectrum at its November 23 meeting.
To kick off the cable license hearing, Michael Hill, director of Ludlow Community Television (LCTV), said the negotiation process took several years to reach the board.
âFor three years we have been negotiating with Charter Spectrum. One important thing from our perspective is funding for our department, Ludlow Community TV. This is one of the main things that we can negotiate, because there are a lot of things that we cannot negotiate, âhe said.
Hill added that LCTV’s funding comes from a Public Access to Education and Government (PEG) grant under the Spectrum contract.
With the license terminated for another 10 years, Hill said he also secured funding for LCTV during the same period.
âWith this license, we were able to obtain financing over 10 years, which is good for us. The last one also lasted 10 years, and that’s a fair amount for us to run, for the staff and the equipment – we’re always replacing and improving the equipment here, in the school department and in the TV studio, â did he declare.
Hill also responded to residents’ concerns about retaining Spectrum as the city’s cable provider.
âThere are a lot of people unhappy with Charter. A lot of people are unhappy with the pricing, customer service, and a number of other things. The big question I’m often asked is why can’t we get another cable provider, but as far as I know it’s a cable operator’s choice to apply for a license, we can’t choose, âhe said.
If another company provided the cable in town, Hill said it would have to build its own infrastructure separate from Spectrum’s.
With a few terms in the contract, Bill August, the city’s legal advisor during contract negotiations, said it opens the door for a company to compete.
âThe license that we have negotiated is non-exclusive, it is very clear on this point, which is the legal basis which allows potential competitors to enter. Nothing prevents this and opens the door to competition by having a language of non-exclusivity. ,” he said.
August also discussed some of the strategies adopted by other companies when considering expanding their services to other cities.
âComcast has never competed with an incumbent, they just don’t go to other companies’ territory to compete. Verizon is a potential source of competition, so you have to keep an eye out for their willingness to compete, but they stopped asking for additional licenses about four years ago, âhe said.
The council unanimously approved a motion to renew the city’s cable license with Spectrum.
Following discussion at the previous meeting about hiring a full-time health inspector to help the Board of Health meet its requirements for health inspections each year, the Board voted 3-1 to reject the asks the new inspector.
Selectmen’s Ludlow board then met on November 30, and coverage of that meeting will appear in the December 9 edition of The Reminder.