Local News

Raleigh, Durham Explore New Cable Options

Posted February 29, 2000

— High cable bills are a sore subject with a lot of people. Now, one company is planning to challengeTime Warner Cablefor your business.

Carywas one of the first communities in the Triangle to look into cable competition. Now Raleigh and Durham residents may get it first.

Michelle Rayburg is one of many cable customers who wants another cable company to compete with Time Warner in the Triangle.

"That was a frustration when I moved in. It took them about three months to get them to move on getting my cable hooked up," she says.

A start up from Boston called Carolina Broadband has filed an application with the FCC to provide cable, phone, and Internet service to Raleigh, Durham, and several other Carolina cities.

The challenge will be to install miles and miles of cable. Carolina Broadband says it already has $400 million in financial backing, with more to come.

Raleigh Councilman Kieran Shanahan, who has negotiated with the company, believes it has the dollars needed to do the deal.

"I think these guys are for real," says Shanahan. "We're certainly doing our due diligence, but the model that they are pursuing is actually being pursued all over the country. I think they realize we're an underserved market."

Shanahan believes some Raleigh neighborhoods could have cable competition within a year, although he admits that's optimistic. Durham's cable administrator says Bull City residents may have a longer wait.

"If we were entering into serious negotiations, then I would certainly feel more certain about it, the reality of it," says Louise Lockwood-Zorowski, Durham's cable administrator.

Carolina Broadband admits this may be a risky venture. The company says it will need a market share well above 10 percent to make a profit.

BTI, another local company, has a cable franchise with Raleigh. That system has not been completed.


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