Comcast to get competition in parts of St. Clair County

By Tony Wittkowski | City Reporter | The Times Herald

Comcast can expect some new competition in broadband Internet, telephone and television services from AT&T U-verse in parts of St. Clair County, including Marysville.

AT&T officials are not saying when U-verse will be available.

Teresa Mask, spokeswoman for AT&T, said for competitive reasons, she cannot disclose future locations.

“I can tell you that we expect to expand and enhance our network, which includes our suite of U-verse products to a total of 33 million customer locations,” Mask said in an email. “We expect to be complete in the 2015 to 2016 time frame.”

In order to operate within municipalities, AT&T pays a franchise agreement.

“We have franchise agreements throughout the county. I can confirm that we are proceeding with providing U-verse in the area,” Mask said. “When it’s available, it will be by municipality, not countywide. Residents will have to see if it’s available in their certain part of the municipality.”

Marysville City Manager Randy Fernandez said council members at a Nov. 24 meeting approved entering into a franchise agreement to provide U-verse to city residents.

“It puts them in Marysville and other areas in the county to compete with Comcast,” Fernandez said. “The state-mandated contract allows us to receive 5 percent of the contract.”

This means the city of Marysville will receive 5 percent of the contracts that people sign up for with AT&T. The city currently receives the same percentage in its agreement with Comcast.

Fernandez said Marysville received $140,000 last year from Comcast.

The only extra revenue for the city would be if new people were to sign on for AT&T U-verse.

“There could be a little more revenue generation for us. The operative word is ‘could be,'” Fernandez said. “It’s providing competition. It gives our residents choices, and that’s always good.”

AT&T announced in 2012 plans to invest $14 billion during the next three years to significantly expand its wireless and wire-line broadband networks, Mask said. The effort was to support growing customer demand for high-speed Internet access and other services.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at (810) 989-6270 or twittkowsk@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Dec. 26, 2014)

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