Last Modified: Friday, July 12, 2013 10:43 AM
JENNINGS — AT&T has begun negotiations with the city to bring its U-verse video service to the city.
Donna Byrne, AT&T regional director, laid out a proposal before the City Council this week that would allow the company to bring the service — including telephone, television and high-speed Internet — to the city.
Jennings would be among the first in Southwest Louisiana to receive the service as part of an expansion project, Bryne said. The service is already available in Baton Rouge, Morgan City and Jefferson Parish.
“The technology alone will bring in new economic development and generate competition, which will bring everyone to their A-game,” Byrne said. “And hopefully it will give the residents of Jennings a choice.”
Bryne was cautious when asked how long it would take to bring the service to Jennings, saying it was difficult to pinpoint because some fiber optic cables and other equipment would need to be installed and upgraded for the service.
“We would start in one area and grow from there,” Byrne said, adding that the initial focus will be on residential costumers. “We are making the first step to be able to bring the service to the area.”
Under the proposed 15-year agreement, the city would receive 5 percent of the proceeds of the product, she said.
The city has a 15-year nonexclusive contract with Charter, which includes a 5 percent franchise fee, Mayor Terry Duhon said. That contract expires in 2019, he said.
“I think competition can be healthy because a lot of times it brings out the best in both companies,” Duhon said.
Other city officials shared similar sentiments.
“Competition creates a better product for everyone,” city attorney Kevin Millican said.
The City Council will review the proposed ordinance and introduce it at its Aug. 13 meeting. Final adoption, allowing the company to move forward on the project, is not expected until September.