Pam Boyd
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February 27, 2014
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Century Link launches new premium cable product

Company officials acknowledge that new equipment rollout has resulted in Eagle Ranch internet issues

CenturyLink and the town of Eagle are nearing a deal to finalize a 10-year franchise agreement that will designate the company as Eagle’s cable television provider. As they work that deal, Century Link is sweetening the pot by upgrading its service options.

CenturyLink is launching a new premium cable service in town called Prism TV. The service is only available in 11 other CenturyLink markets, most recently in Highlands Ranch, Colorado Springs, Fountain, Monument and El Paso County. The service offers boarder television choices including high definition programming, video on demand and pay per view services.

“Prism TV is a new generation video platform in 11 other CenturyLink markets today enabling viewers to customize their digital TV experience with faster broadband speeds,” said Dennis Collins, area operations manager. “By launching Prism, we are making a substantial investment in this community.”

Collins noted that CenturyLink has upgraded its infrastructure in Eagle and that process has generated some internet problems.

“We have had a substantial amount of problems with the equipment we have installed, specifically in Eagle Ranch,” he said. Collins said the company has been working hard to isolate issues and believes it will resolve the problems in the near future.

Cost

Because it is more comprehensive, Prism will be more expensive.

“To paraphrase President Obama if you like your old cable, can you keep it?” asked Eagle Town Manager during a CenturyLink presentation before the Eagle Town Board Tuesday night.

“Not forever. It is an out-of-date system that needs to be replaced,” Collins replied.

Eagle Mayor Yuri Kostick noted he has heard from several motel managers in Eagle who were concerned about how much the product will cost. Collins said the company is discussing those concerns with representatives from the lodging community and hopes to reach an agreeable resolution.

Public access

As part of its franchise discussions, the town board is considering an additional fee to pay for improvements needed for a working community access channel. In the future, the channel could stream town board meetings live or rebroadcast the meetings. The channel could also include programs such as high school sports and community events.

“I am totally opposed to having only CenturyLink customers pay for the streaming product,” said town board member Scott Turnipseed.

Other town board members weighed in noting that the cost of the service — $10,000 to $20,0000 — seems high for the benefit.

“I have never been asked to have our meetings publicly televised,” said town board member Scot Webster.

As they discussed the issue, the town board members decided to leave the provision to charge the public access fee to cable customers in place as part of the franchise agreement. However, the fee will not be charged at this time.

Public reaction

“What would the public like to see from the company related to cable?” asked Eagle Town Attorney Ed Sands. He noted the franchise agreement public hearings are centrally about that question.

“What I hear from this is they are going to do away with my cable and charge me more in a few years,” said resident Stephen Richards.

Resident Kraige Kinney also characterized a move toward televising town meetings as an unnecessary cost. However resident Chris Greene noted he would value such a service, if it was available.

Greene said his bigger questions were about the quality and the structure of the overall CenturyLink broadband network. He asked if there is more and more local internet demand, how will the system handle it?

Collins said that the new system will feature more than 40 mb capacity. “We have potential for good service,” he said.

The final vote regarding the CenturyLink franchise agreement is slated for March 25.


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The VailDaily Updated Feb 27, 2014 10:15AM Published Feb 27, 2014 10:15AM Copyright 2014 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.