Harvey, Ill., Mayor Lures Ameritech


Behind a push from the mayor, Ameritech New Media has
picked up its 111th cable franchise by agreeing to provide service in the Chicago suburb
of Harvey, Ill.

The Harvey City Council voted last week to grant the MSO a
15-year deal that allows it to compete with AT&T Broadband & Internet Services in
the town of 9,700 households.

"We're very pleased that Harvey has joined the growing
number of south suburbs that have given residents what they've asked for -- namely, a
choice in cable-television service," ANM public-affairs director Jim Szczepaniak said
in a prepared statement.

Mayor Nickolas Graves pushed the ordinance that brought
competitive cable service to Harvey, arguing that it would spur AT&T Broadband to
upgrade its services in the community. "Competition forces companies to focus more on
paying attention to the customer," Graves said.

ANM spokesman Geoff Potter said the city was probably
influenced by residents of nearby South Holland -- the first Chicagoland community to
introduce ANM's Americast service -- as well as by signs that AT&T Broadband is
"making a serious move" to protect its market share in communities where it
faces competition.

"That's something we hear from a lot of the
communities we go into," Potter said. "Complaints dramatically decrease or, in
some cases, disappear. People want choice so they can try a different cable company. And
I'm sure officials in Harvey were also thinking that now folks will have someplace else to
go besides City Hall."

ANM has signed franchises with a total of 23 Chicago-area
municipalities, including the south suburbs of Calumet City, Chicago Heights, Palos Park
and Robbins, Ill., and across the state line in Hammond, Ind.

The Harvey agreement continues ANM's recent string of
successes in the area, where it has signed 10 franchises -- including its massive south
Chicago deal -- in the past year. "We're building quite a name for ourselves down
there," Potter said.