New cable deal for Miami calls for rebuilt system
residents will get a rebuilt, state-of-the-art cable television system
by September 2001 under terms of a deal that city commissioners and
AT&T finalized last week after five years of negotiations.
call for the city to get $8 million in benefits, including a fee of
$1 for each customer.
AT&T's present 60,000 subscribers, the city expects to reap about
$7.25 million in revenues over 10 years, said Matthew Leibowitz, consultant
for the city.
Leibowitz said the company also agreed to waive $825,000 that the
city owed the firm based on claims from the city's former cable TV
attract more subscribers, AT&T also will distribute to city residents
discount vouchers valued at $500,000.
deal includes enhancements to the city's Net 9 television channel
and up to five channels for public or government access.
representatives said the company is half way through an upgrade of
the city's cable TV system with completion expected Sept. 1, 2001.
When complete, they said, the company will have the technology in
place to introduce telephone, high-speed Internet access and other
services to cable subscribers.
officials said customer service was lacking under TCI, the city's
cable TV provider that AT&T purchased last year.
old system "was totally inept in terms of enforcement,"
Mr. Leibowitz said. "If violated, so what?"
said the city went through endless arbitration with TCI but "you
could never bring the company to responsibility."
procedures in the new contract let the city manage the agreement,
Mr. Leibowitz said.
Easterly, area general manager for AT&T, said the company has added
employees to meet customer service requirements under the new contract.
vision is to be right here and available," Mr. Easterly said.
"I think going forward we're going to be the trendsetter in the
cable world, certainly here in South Florida."
Commissioner Tom s Regalado hailed AT&T's decision to offer discounted
rates to low-income residents at subsidized housing projects in the
will be a signal that the city, with AT&T, is taking care of the poor
in the City of Miami," Mr. Regalado said.
addition, the contract calls for AT&T to provide discounted Internet
service to city parks and daycare centers.