VAIL, Colorado - When Comcast's contract to provide cable TV service in Vail came to an end in 2010, town officials wanted some changes made.
Specifically, residents and town officials lobbied the company for more channels and better Internet service. In short, Vail residents wanted the Comcast services Denver area residents had.
After months of negotiations - and a lot of work by the cable company - the Vail Town Council Tuesday gave initial approval to a new, 10-year franchise agreement with Comcast. The agreement requires Comcast to pay the town a percentage of the revenue it earns from Vail customers.
Jeff Dolan, Comcast's vice president of government affairs, told council members the company had delivered on promises it made.
"In the last couple of years we've invested an enormous amount of time and resources to upgrade, and offer Vail customers the best possible experience," Dolan said.
Those upgrades most notably include the company's switch from analog to digital service, which has expanded the company's channel offerings and Internet service speeds.
But council members had questions about a channel the company doesn't now offer: Universal Sports, which provides much of the ski racing coverage in the U.S. Comcast and Universal are trying to negotiate an agreement, and council members wanted to make sure the station would be part of Vail's service when a deal is cut.
"If you're successful, we want to have (Universal) in the base rate for the community," mayor Andy Daly said. "Our community heritage is based on ski racing."
Dolan said Comcast's goal "is to have access to programming that people want." But he added, federal regulations prohibit communities from requiring certain channels in a company's packages.
But council member Susie Tjossem reiterated the importance of ski racing in Vail, and to the town's guests.
"Whatever help we can provide, we will," she said.