Frederick residents may get an alternative for their cable and Internet service, as the city considers an agreement with Shenandoah Cable Television to provide services in the city.

Shenandoah is pursuing a cable franchise agreement with the city to provide cable services, including fiber-based broadband, voice, and video to residents and businesses in the city.

An agreement to provide an alternative to Comcast, the city’s current single provider, would have to be approved by the city’s aldermen.

The company’s fiberoptic build-out would be focused on broadband cable and wireless with a service that provides the same speeds for uploads and downloads, Shenandoah spokesman Bryan Byrd told the mayor and aldermen Wednesday.

While Comcast is currently the city’s only provider, federal law requires the city to make it feasible for other companies to establish a franchise that can compete fairly, said Stephen Davis, an assistant city attorney.

The city wants to provide as level a playing field as possible, Mayor Michael O’Connor said.

O’Connor said they’re seeing a demand for more broadband service with more people working from home during the coronavirus pandemic.

In April 2018, Comcast announced a $1 million expansion in the company’s fiber network in Frederick, adding about 14 miles of additional fiber optic cable in and near downtown Frederick.

While the company has a lot of respect for what Comcast offers, they believe they can provide choice and lower prices, Byrd said.

He said the company would hope to start serving customers two to three years after construction on the company’s infrastructure begins.

Shenandoah, a Sprint affiliate, is based in Edinburg, in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, and serves customers in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky.

Follow Ryan Marshall on Twitter: @RMarshallFNP

Ryan Marshall is the transportation and growth and development reporter for the News-Post. He can be reached at rmarshall@newspost.com.

(11) comments

C.D.Reid

It's about time Comcast gets a little competition, they've been allowed to run roughshod over their customers bank accounts way too long, which was the primary reason why I dropped their cable service years ago; I only use them for internet now. I put an antennae up when I did and between that, and the subscriptions I have with NetFlix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime (for a total of about $27.00 a month,) we have all the entertainment we need.

mrnatural1

Competition is always good for the customers.

For the sake of city residents, I hope the Aldermen make it as easy as possible for Shenandoah to move in.

Maybe then Comcast will improve their customer service. Currently, they have zero incentive to play nice.

bosco

Competition is indeed good for the consumer. Basic capitalism at work.

[ninja]

gardenwhimsey

It is not currently fiber optic in all of Frederick City...only in the areas with new builds in the last 20 or so years. They said the digging to make the entire city fiber optic ready would be too expensive. If Shenandoah is only fiber optic, does that mean the rest of us will still be limited to only Comcast?

TomWheatley

It's fiber optic in the City and not County wide cable plus now that we are a Charter Government, why does the City have to go to Annapolis to ask "Annapolis, may I" ?

gary4books

Either by design or by chance, local Government does not want to make decisions on this technology for the County. Or so it seems to me.

gary4books

With 5G on the verge of taking over television services in the County, it would not be wise to move in another cable company to fight over the pie that may vanish.

LAR1

Instead, please build infrastructure in areas currently not served by ANY cable company. Why duplicate services when many area do not have any service?

huskycats

Competition is good but I understand these small companies have notoriously poor service.

WalkTheTown

Have you ever tried to call Comcast to resolve a small and simple problem? Even when you get a lot of service, that doesn't mean it's good, useful service that resolves the problem.

gardenwhimsey

I welcome another cable company to operate in Frederick. The channels Comcast provide in basic cable are mostly junk, i.e. sports, shopping, religion, etc. Very recently they took my favorite channel, WETA-UK, and moved it to a higher level that is more expensive. Comcast raises the prices and reduces the service.

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