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Vail Valley Voices: Cable service in Vail subpar

Vail Homeowners Association
Vail, CO, Colorado

Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from the Vail Homeowners Association monthly report for September. We publish weekly excerpts from the association, which keeps a close eye on economic and political trends in and outside of the town. The newsletter’s electronic version with links to supporting documents is available at http://www.vailhomeowners.com.

Comcast holds the Vail cable franchise, which has expired and is now under renegotiation with the town of Vail. The franchise is non-exclusive, which, in theory, would allow for another cable operator to service Vail. The Vail market is not big enough to attract the attention of another bidder. This leaves little leverage for the town and local subscribers to cause the cable company to make improvements.

The antiquated condition of the cable system in Vail limits the ability to provide the state-of-the-art service typically available in major metropolitan areas. Thus far in the renegotiation, Comcast has not agreed to entertain upgrading the system’s outdated distribution



technology.

Complaints are being received by the town from subscribers about the quality of service. It is reported that the cable company has not acquiesced to the possibility that there is customer dissatisfaction with their service. Nor have they made any proposal to improve or expand service.



There is little the town can do, with the exception of requiring a system-wide compliance audit of equipment and installation requirements set by the town in a prior agreement from the mid-1990s. The Town Council may conduct public hearings on the matter beginning in September.

The only other source for television other than satellite is to download video clips from the Internet. Satellite has capacity issues and weather-related reception problems.

The franchising process is even more important today, because the cable operator now delivers not only television, but telephone and Internet services as well.



Vail critically needs state-of-the-art communication links to the outside world. It is essential not only for emergency communications, but also to attract high-end guests and property owners, many of whom are dependent upon such services to operate their businesses while in Vail.

From the in box

2015 lacking leadership from the community: Congratulations on the Vail Homeowners Association newsletter being quoted in a recent snow industry online publication. Unfortunately, the leadership, imagination and initiative embodied in the VHA newsletter stands in stark

concontrast to the town of Vail response to the 2015 Alpine Ski Championships and the recently announced Quest Colorado pro-biking event next year.

There seems to be consensus that tourism is going to be the economic engine of Vail Valley for the foreseeable future. Having Vail recognized as a world-class destination is an important linchpin for our economic future.

There will probably be no better opportunity to showcase Vail and positively affect its economy than the World Alpine Ski Championships. Others in the Vail Valley seem to get that. Avon town leaders are already thinking about what they can do to take advantage of the events. And it was also reported that the Vail Valley Foundation is likewise well into the planning process and, in just four months, it will host the Ski Federation to clarify plans for the events. Obviously the clock is ticking.

Against this background, it was reported that Vail’s town manager implied that Vail has no “wow factor” plans for the 2015 Championships. The manager believes, because of all the recent redevelopment, Vail is already prepared and should wait until the Vail Valley Foundation finalizes plans before addressing what, if anything, Vail might do.

Is the community’s leadership letting opportunities slip out of grasp? Here is perhaps the best opportunity to promote Vail, and the town is sitting on the sidelines, apparently not trying to engage in shaping the event itself and the bump in related tourism that could last for years afterward.

Shouldn’t the town of Vail and the community be revving up, asking for a seat at the table and trying to be creative to maximize this opportunity? You would think so, but it doesn’t seem to be happening. Once the plans have been finalized, all Vail will be able to do is go along. What a waste that would be.

It seems that the same attitude prevails for the biking event. The biking organizers are asking for bids from communities on each stage of the race. It doesn’t appear that the town of Vail has done anything yet.

Given the popularity of biking here and Vail’s history in the sport, one would think Vail would be in prime position to secure a stage. With a stage in this race event, it wouldn’t take much more effort to promote Vail as “Bike Town USA.” Again, with the event just a year away, the clock is ticking, but there seems an indifference to this facet of tourism.

It is amazing that Vail is not more visible in the cycling world. Yes, a lot of people come here to bike, but Vail doesn’t appear to have really capitalized on this sport. Vail should be a major summer biking destination. Already it has significant rides with thousands of amateur participants. There are many miles of mountain bike trails throughout the surrounding White River National Forest including Vail and Beaver Creek mountains. Vail should be prominently featured in any list of top biking destinations in, for example, Biking magazine, but is it?

What could be a golden opportunity to promote and expand an important facet of summer tourism sits there for the grasping, but nothing is happening. Here is a chance to engage the valley’s biking community to create a plan of action to put Vail at the forefront of this event. But once again, no leadership.

All of this goes to a larger issue. Think of how the community could be pulled together around a multi-faceted “Vail 2015” plan, of which the championships and cycling events would be parts but not the sum total. With vision and planning, a host of initiatives could be developed and launched, all aimed ultimately at establishing Vail as a year-round world-class destination, a place that people would put on the top of their vacation bucket lists.

Unfortunately, all of this takes leadership, imagination and initiative. That seems to be in very short supply in the town’s officialdom.


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