City to hold Public Hearing on RCN Cable Services to Everett

Mayor Carlo DeMaria announced Tuesday that RCN Cable has filed an application to bring a state-of-the-art fiber-optic network, along with increased competition and a choice for broadband and entertainment services, to the City of Everett.

Mayor DeMaria has been committed to encouraging new businesses and accelerating high-speed internet as ways to ensure growth and spur innovation in Everett.

“Bringing down costs and stimulating innovation is critical to our local economy and the quality of life for our residents,” said Mayor DeMaria. “I welcome RCN’s investment in our city and look forward to seeing the benefits that will come to our residents, businesses, schools and government.”

RCN is an Internet, cable TV and phone provider that services several cities around the country, including Boston, Washington, D.C. and New York. There is currently only one provider of cable services in Everett. If granted approval by the City of Everett, RCN would compete with Comcast for the business of Everett residents.

“RCN applauds the City of Everett for looking out for its citizens’ best interests in giving them a new choice for their telecommunications needs,” said Jeff Carlson, vice president and general manager of RCN Boston.  “RCN is looking forward to serving the residents and businesses of Everett with our industry leading high-speed Internet, digital TV and phone service.”

RCN had been moving aggressively in Everett and Revere many years ago, coming far enough as to negotiate a contract with both communities for service. However, that all disintegrated in 2000 when RCN experienced financial difficulties and had to pull out of the proposed deals.

Now, having emerged from that process, the company is stronger and looking to expand once again.

Tom Powers of RCN said the company is poised to offer competition to Comcast in residential cable and Internet services – as well as commercial services.

He said one advantage is that they will provide competition, but don’t expect to be the biggest player in the market.

“We will naturally have fewer subscribers if this is granted, so that will mean fewer users on our network and faster speeds for our potential customer,” he said. “We don’t have the ability to advertise like they do, and they’re pretty big. We are going to build out a great network and we believe our customers will be very happy.”

As part of the cable television licensing process, the city will hold a public hearing scheduled for Wednesday, August 17. At the hearing, City of Everett officials and members of the public will have the opportunity to question RCN representatives about the cable system’s activities in the region, the steps RCN will take to minimize any delay in construction of its fiber-optic network and how its resources can effectively support the creation and operation of several new systems. The city has agreed to streamline the permitting process in order to expedite construction.

As it builds its subscriber network, RCN proposes to construct an advanced fiber institutional network for the City’s exclusive use, to connect schools and municipal buildings. This would serve to fill the City’s needs for video and data distribution long into the future. Also, RCN’s proposal includes provision of three HD channels for locally produced public, educational and governmental programming, thereby enhancing signal quality.

Following the public hearing, the City of Everett and RCN will negotiate a franchise agreement. All are encouraged to attend the meeting on Wednesday, August 17 at 7 p.m. in the Keverian Room at City Hall, on 484 Broadway.

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