Shelby Township, a bedroom community outside of Detroit,
has become the latest Michigan town to bring in Ameritech New Media as a second cable
The Shelby Township Board voted unanimously last week to
authorize a 15-year franchise that will allow ANM to compete for some 15,000 local cable
viewers that are currently serviced by Comcast Corp., the state's dominant MSO.
Local officials said the agreement calls for a traditional
5 percent franchise fee, along with one-time cash payments of $50,000 for equipment at the
township's PEG-access (public, educational and government) studio; $5,000 for the
application fee; and $10,000 to cover the municipality's legal expenses.
John Martin, who heads the township's cable-TV
department, said he had hoped to get the extra 1 percent franchise-fee payment that some
area communities have gotten from ANM for PEG access. However, he chose to take the
one-time payment, rather than risking long, protracted negotiations that might have
aroused local residents who are eager to see competition in the local cable market.
"I've got a hunch [that ANM is] going to do well
here," Martin said. "We have a lot of angry cable subscribers who look to the
township to bring in competition."
Calling Comcast's service "no worse than
some," Martin said he nevertheless routinely receives complaints about missed service
appointments and unburied lines that "go for months and months."
"[Comcast] could use some work on their customer
service," he added.
Located 15 miles outside of Detroit, Shelby Township adds
another 21,300 households to ANM's second-largest cluster behind Columbus, Ohio.
It also gives the cable arm of Chicago-based regional Bell
operating company Ameritech Corp. 86 signed franchises in three states, including 38 in
the metro Detroit area. Of the 65 systems that ANM has up and running, 30 are located in