AT&T cable contract finalized; new cable provider in town

By By Justin B. Phillips / American Press

Lake Charles has had a cable problem for a while now. With Suddenlink being the primary provider in the area, the city was

one of few in the region with such limited choices. In an effort to boost local competition, the city recently finalized a

three-year franchise agreement with AT&T.

The topic was broached earlier this

week after a representative from a local senior citizen’s apartment

complex spoke with

the City Council about cable issues. Shelly Young, the apartment

manager of Tower Oaks on Louie Street, said the lack of choices

created a financial burden for the residents living in the

complex’s 152 units.

“We have people with limited incomes

who cannot afford to pay whatever Suddenlink decides to charge. I think

it should be

addressed,” Young said. “We all need, especially seniors who don’t

have cellphones, they need to have access so they can catch

the news and things like that. To have a monopoly in Lake Charles

on cable in 2014 seems unbelievable.”

Several City Council members believe that with the lack of a competitive provider market, residents are forced to overpay

for cable. Council President Luvertha August said she agreed with the complaints.

“There is a monopoly here,” she said. “The prices are entirely too high. We don’t have enough competition.”

City attorney Billy Loftin spearheaded

the effort to bring in the new provider. The contract was signed last

November and

is scheduled to end Nov. 21, 2016. From there, the contract will

function on a year-to-year basis unless canceled by either

party.

Loftin said the city has always been open to providing locals with more cable options. The process of getting providers like

AT&T to move into the area is both hard to predict and hard to control, he said.

“We welcome any cable provider that wants to come,” Loftin said. “But the thing you have to understand is that we can’t make

them come here.”

There are still areas throughout the city where AT&T has yet to provide service, Loftin said, but the process is ongoing.

Residents looking to change are encouraged to contact the provider to ask about their specific areas.