Statement in Favor of the Sale of Cable Co-opís
Assets to AT&T
By Seth Fearey
The sale of Cable Co-op's assets to AT&T is a big win for our community.
Financially, AT&T is a much stronger company than Cable Co-op, and
they will make major services improvements.
All these new services will not come overnight, but they will come, and
put us on a par with the best systems in the nation.
Plant Upgrade. AT&T will upgrade our aging, all coaxial cable
system to a Hybrid Fiber/Coaxial (HFC) system employing a fiber optic backbone.
The fiber backbone will allow increased reliability, more channels, and
More Channels. With only 77 channels of capacity, long term contracts,
and federally mandated "must-carry" stations, Cable Co-op has not been
able to add channels requested by members. AT&T is already offering
over 120 channels in other Bay Area communities. This means more movies,
sports (soccer!), languages, and music.
Faster Internet. I love Cable Co-opís cable modem service, but it
is an all coaxial system. The fiber upgrade will increase speed and reliability,
so every home can get high-speed access, all the time.
Better Customer Service. One of our great frustrations was that
we could not afford to pay our member services staff better, and offer
24 hour a day, 7 day a week support. AT&T can and does.
Member Rebates. Cable Co-op will provide a member patronage rebate
worth about three months of free, basic, cable television service.
Free Connections for Schools. AT&T will provide every credentialed
school in the service area with a free connection for basic video and data
services, plus $50,000 in cable modem equipment for qualified education
and demonstration projects.
Local Programming Support. We take great pride in the community
interest shows we and MPAC produce. AT&T will provide cash support
for MPAC, and fund a non-profit that will provide even more community services.
Free Channel. One new channel will be provided to the community
free of charge for local interest shows, such as high school sports, community
theater, and childrenís book readings at the library.
Competition. When AT&T upgrades the equipment, it can offer
local telephone service. I expect several vendors, including AT&T,
Pacific Bell and RCN, will then offer bundles of voice, video and data
services for low, monthly fees.
I urge your support for this proposal. It is a good deal for all of
Seth G. Fearey, Vice President of the Cable Co-op Board of Directors,
President of Connected Communities, founding Director of Smart Valley,
Inc., fifteen-year resident of Menlo Park.