Monday, July 30, 2007

Proposed cable contract mum on undergounding

Qwest, the big regional phone company, wants to compete with Comcast for your cable TV dollar in Portland. Whether a little competition results in better service and lower prices remains to be seen.

One thing is certain, a competitor will add to the visual clutter above our streets, unless the Mount Hood Cable Regulatory Commission stirs itself and inserts some pro-undergrounding teeth in the proposed franchise agreement.

The commission is set to vote on the agreement Sept. 17. (You can comment here.) As is, the draft agreement is silent on the whole undergrounding issue. The word "undergrounding" appears nowhere in the text.

Hillsdale neighborhood leader Wes Risher and I testified at a regulatory commission hearing tonight in favor of a set-aside franchise fee. The money raised would start paying for undergrounding in Town Centers (like Hillsdale) and Main Streets — places that are supposed to be pleasant to walk in. Yes, places more entertaining than what your cable pumps into your home.

Imagine Hillsdale without this clutter....

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