Click here for the Time Warner Cable Survey

 

 

For information on our efforts to bring better broadband internet and cable television service to Rochester, email: iwantcable@accord-kerhonkson.com

 

Background

Many town residents have responded to our efforts to bring broadband internet services to the areas of the Town of Rochester that are not served at present by Time Warner Cable.  Further information is necessary to assist us in this project.

This effort is sponsored by the Rochester Residents Association, a non-partisan not-for-profit charitable organization, working in conjunction with Supervisor Carl Chipman, Councilperson Lynn Archer (the liaison to Time Warner Cable) and the town board.

The current franchise contract with TWC will expire in the not-too-distant future and we hope to obtain commitments for better service upon its anticipated renewal. 

Immediate Steps:

1.      Print out, complete, and mail the survey that is posted on http://www.accord-kerhonkson.com/TimeWarner.htm.  We realize that many residents did this in 2005, however, an update is necessary.  Forms are also available at Saunderskill Farms or may be obtained by emailing: Iwantcable@accord-kerhonkson.com

2.      Ask your neighbors to complete the survey.

3.      Ask your Town Board members to allocate the annual TWC franchise fee towards the cost of expanding cable/broadband service in the Town rather than being used to subsidize general expenses.

If you would like to participate in a committee to work with the Town Board and TWC on expansion of service in town, please email us at IwantCable@accord-kerhonkson.com

Please note that the Rochester Residents Association is sponsoring this project as a public service and does not receive any consideration from TWC.  While RRA is committed to expanding service town-wide, we all have to recognize that it may not be economically feasible, at present, to have the town 100% wired, although this is something the Town Board should consider with TWC upon the next franchise contract renewal.

Goals:

1.      Work with Town of Rochester officials and residents to identify areas of the Town of Rochester where broadband internet service is not easily available

2.      Determine those areas that meet current Time Warner Cable criteria (in accordance with franchise agreement with the Town of Rochester and NYS Public Service Commission requirements).

3.      Work with residents and Time Warner Cable representatives to establish a timetable for providing service in areas where service is not now provided.

Background:

Several years ago, the Town of Rochester entered into a cable television/broadband franchise agreement with Time Warner Cable (TWC). Under the terms of this contract, TWC received the town-wide franchise to provide cable television service to residents of the town; this service also includes broadband internet service as broadband is provided on the same wires. 

In exchange for the monopoly franchise, the Town of Rochester has received an annual franchise fee of about $25,000.  The franchise fee has been used to subsidize the Town’s general operating expenses, not to finance the expansion of cable or broadband services in the Town.  Under the original contract terms and subsequent renewals, the Town has been “allocated” a certain distance of linear road frontage that TWC would wire at no expense.  In past years, this road frontage installation, which averaged about three miles per contract renewal, was allocated to residents on a first come-first served basis by making a request to the Town Board. 

In about 2005, then-Supervisor Pam Duke and the Town Board established a Telecommunications Committee to survey the Town and establish a more equitable method of allocating the free road frontage installation provided by TWC, although much of the allocation under the present contract had been already used by that time.  The Telecommunications Committee, which consisted of Councilmen Francis Gray, Alex Miller and Ron Santosky as well as volunteers Mark Bellehumeur, Jonathan Blair, and Marge Bonner, worked on maps identifying areas to wire and prepared a list of potential new subscribers that was given to TWC.  Many of those areas were wired successfully and now have service.  Other areas identified remain unwired, and our intent is to identify those remaining areas and to persuade TWC to wire them.  As of 2005, about 50% of road frontage in Rochester was wired, a rate that is substantially lower than neighboring towns such as Marbletown and Olive.

Alternate technology does exist.  Wild Blue and HughesNet provide satellite internet service at a cost of about $69 to $100 per month at a speed that is faster than dial up but slower than fiber optic cable.  Verizon also provides DSL internet service to limited parts of town (no more than three miles from switching stations), however, expansion is limited due to the requirement for upgrading telephone wires.  Verizon’s FIOS fiberoptic service is being made available in some parts of Ulster County, however, full service is at least two years away.  Some residents have resorted to installing private T-1 lines at a monthly cost of over $800!  It is possible that the two new cellular towers installed will eventually have wireless internet capacity, however, at present such service is not available.

The current TWC contract will soon be up for renewal.  State law requires free road frontage installation for areas where there are 35 or more residences per mile.  The Town’s contract requires only 20 residents per mile, but with a minimum of 15 subscribers per mile.  In those areas where frontage wiring exists, TWC does not charge for the first 250 feet from the utility pole, but charges for each foot over the first 250.   For areas where there are less than 20 homes per mile, TWC calculates the cost of line connections is calculated in accordance with a NYS Public Utility Commission formula.  Some residents have been given quotes of more than $70,000 to install cable, including road frontage wiring and frontage to home wiring!

TWC frontage wires are installed on utility poles, which are usually owed by Central Hudson in Rochester, below the electric wires (highest) and above the telephone wires (lowest).  TWC has contracts that permit cable installation on poles with most utility pole providers.

We have been informed that most of Raycliff Estates has been approved for frontage wiring.  This has not yet occurred, however; the delay is allegedly due to delays in receiving consent from pole owners (per TWC as of 3/31/09)

Time Warner’s budgeting process is coming up in the next two months and provisions for wiring new neighborhoods must be included in their internal budget proposals.