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Front Page » Top Stories » Metromedia License Pact Deferred Again By Gables

Metromedia License Pact Deferred Again By Gables

Written by on July 13, 2000

By Sherri C. Ranta
Seeking additional information, Coral Gables commissioners again deferred approval of a license agreement between the city and Metromedia Fiber Network Services Inc., a telecommunications company wanting to wire the city for Internet and telephone services.

Commissioners voted 5-0 Tuesday to defer action on the agreement and instead asked company officials for additional information, including a financial statement and colored drawings of the planned installation of underground cables in the city.

Company officials have been asked to meet with each commissioner before the next meeting.

Assistant City Manager David Brown said commissioners wanted to see colored renderings of the proposed routes.

"I think you could understand, the mayor and commission want to get a handle on what they will do. When the streets get torn up, the commissioners get the calls," Mr. Brown said.

Gables Mayor Raul Valdes-Fauli said he wanted to know specifically which streets the company would tear up to lay fiber-optic cable.

John Ambrus, company spokesperson, said it would be difficult to provide the commission with those specifics until his firm could obtain permits from the city to begin engineering.

"Before we can do anything," he said, "we need your approval."

Under the proposed license agreement with the city, Metromedia would lay underground fiber-optic cables throughout the Gables, a one- to two-year project, according to the company’s application. Under terms of the license, the company would pay the city a $2,500 application fee plus 1% of the company’s gross revenues from telephone and Internet services.

Commissioners deferred approval in June, saying they wanted more information. After that, Metromedia supplied the city with a 67-page financial statement and other information, city officials said.

Commissioner Jim Barker said he met with Metromedia representatives after the June commission meeting to discuss the project and is satisfied with the company’s response to the city.

But, he said, he is also interested in seeing the drawings. With all the conditions met, Mr. Barker said, he didn’t see any reason the commission shouldn’t approve the proposal.

Bell South serves Coral Gables with telephone service. Nextlink of South Florida, MCI Worldcom and Teleport Communications Group, affiliated with AT&T, also have license agreements with the city for telecommunications services. Nextlink of South Florida and MCI Worldcom have construction permits, said Lina Hickman, a city civil engineer.