Comcast eyes Woodburn, surrounding area
In the near future some Woodburn-area residents stand to see more options for telecommunication services.
A representative from Comcast, an internet and cable TV provider that operates under the Xfinity brand name, apprised Woodburn City Council on March 8 of the company's interest in establishing infrastructure to provide services in the city.
The company had already reached out to city officials in Hubbard, Aurora and Mount Angel.
Woodburn Assistant City Attorney McKenzie Granum told the council that the visit will be followed up at the next meeting with a franchise agreement for councilors to consider.
"The actual franchise isn't being proposed this evening; we will return in two weeks with a formal ordinance," Granum said. "But tonight's presentation is just to introduce you to the suite of Comcast services that are being proposed."
Tim Goodman, Comcast's Portland-area senior director for government and regulatory affairs, said a conservative estimate is that if Woodburn gives the franchise the green light, services would be available in about 18 months. That nod could come as early as this month.
"We are anticipating bringing a Comcast franchise to the next City Council meeting on March 22nd for the council to consider adopting," city of Woodburn spokesman Tommy Moore said.
Meanwhile, Hubbard has signed an agreement, and the cities of Mount Angel and Aurora are in the process of reviewing details of what a Comcast franchise agreement would bring to their respective towns.
Hubbard Mayor Charles Rostocil and City Councilor James Audritsh affirmed that the Hubbard City Council approved the franchise agreement with Comcast during its March 9 meeting.
Audritsh noted that Comcast representatives said they will begin installing infrastructure for the service within three months, and that service is a priority as they aim to keep costs affordable to area residents.
"They (will be) installing all new equipment and this would allow for cable TV, cable internet and cable home phone," Audritsh noted. "Approval from the other cities was not a requirement for Hubbard to get the service.
"The Hubbard City Council heard from a lot of citizens who were in favor of competition in the cable market."
Mount Angel City Manager Kevin Cronin said the city has also been approached by Comcast representatives and is currently involved with work sessions to review specifics regarding infrastructure, right of ways and other elements of the proposal. He anticipates that a franchise agreement could be forthcoming later this spring if the city council deems it favorably.
Aurora was also approached and is working through similar steps as Mount Angel.
"We have had a Comcast representative, Kirk Nord, reach out and put a tentative agreement before our council," Aurora City Recorder Stuart Rodgers said. "We're still in discovery phase to ensure we've done our due diligence prior to firming this up at a future council meeting."
City officials in Gervais and Donald said they have not heard similar pitches from Comcast.
Donald City Manager Heidi Bell said Comcast has not approached the community or council, but the the city is intrigued.
"I would be interested in having them come to council and make a presentation," Bell said.
That could happen, but it would likely be sometime down the road.
"We are always evaluating the opportunity to expand our service territory, but right now our attention is focused on Woodburn and Hubbard," Comcast spokeswoman Amy Keiter said.
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