WIN Gets San Antonio Franchise

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Denver-Western Integrated Networks LLC-an overbuilder based here and headed by industry veteran James Vaughn-picked up its third cable franchise last week.

Officials in San Antonio authorized a 15-year franchise that will allow WIN to compete for 300,000 area consumers served by Time Warner Cable.

The start-up outfit will have five years to build a system capable of delivering cable, Internet and phone services to a universe of 500,000 metro-area households.

Under a recently passed state law, the company will be issued a separate "standardized" franchise allowing it to offer telephone service, a San Antonio official said.

"The need for a fast, flexible, customer-friendly communications system is multiplying daily," WIN chairman Vaughn said in a statement. "WIN's technology provides scalable, high bandwidth to meet the needs brought on by new technologies."

San Antonio is the second Texas local franchising authority to award WIN a competitive cable franchise. It recently signed a deal in Austin, making it one of three tele-communications companies preparing to take on Time Warner in that market.

Coupled with franchises in Sacramento and Sacramento County, Calif., the company has deals in place covering 1.5 million households, WIN spokesman Bill Mahon said, adding that the company hopes to activate its first home in 12 to 15 months.

WIN has franchise bids pending in Dallas, Houston and San Diego.

San Antonio may be the next LFA to have four multiple-service providers vying for the attention of consumers. City officials are pondering whether to approve franchises for two additional start-up outfits-Austin-based Grande Communications and WideOpenWest LLC, based here.

"The beneficiaries of all of this will be the consumers, who, in nine months to one year, will have a choice in cable providers," city finance director Octavio Pena said. "Up until now, choice has been absent."

Pena added that city officials were eager to introduce competition into the local telecommunications market, despite the fact that Time Warner has delivered good service.

"Their service had been good," he said, "but the people want choice."

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