Wednesday, February 25, 2015
POLK COUNTY — Astound Broadband is coming to Dallas and Monmouth.
The company will offer fiber service to commercial businesses and other enterprises that need a fast fiber connection, said Mark Peterson, company spokesman.
In Dallas, the city council approved the first reading of a franchise agreement Feb. 17 and declared it an emergency, which means that on the second reading, the agreement will take effect.
Normally, ordinances and other actions taken by the council would become effective 30 days after the second reading. City Manager Ron Foggin said this agreement was declared an emergency because Astound Broadband LLC had a utility easement agreement with the city that expired on Dec. 31.
The agreement will bring $5,566 per year in franchise fees.
“It’s taken this long to get the agreement in place,” he said. “Instead of letting anymore water run under the bridge, we wanted to get them current.”
The agreement is for the company’s fiber backbone, which runs through the city as part of cellular tower upgrades.
“Once they’ve got this backbone in place, they’re looking for anybody who is looking for better, faster or just more Internet,” Foggin said. “They have government pricing, so we’re (the city) going to be one of their customers for fiber.”
Foggin said the service will provide the city with a redundant connection, so if one system goes down, another will pick it up. It also will provide faster access to the Internet.
In Monmouth, the city council approved a first reading of a franchise agreement with Astound on Feb. 17, but no emergency clause was attached.
Monmouth’s agreement with the company stipulates a rental fee of $5,000 a year, City Manager Scott McClure said.
“If they started serving our customers more directly and getting revenue, then we’ll use a (standard) franchise fee,” McClure said.
But charging a standard percent franchise fee is tricky with a company such as Astound, McClure said, because the basis of the service is wireless.
“You can only have a franchise fee on phone service and cable TV service,” he said. “We don’t get revenue from wireless services, such as Direct TV or Dish TV.”
Astound will be competing with any company that provides Internet services in Dallas and Monmouth, Peterson said.
“We are uniquely positioned as the fastest growing local fiber provider that actually owns our infrastructure,” he said, noting that Astound will be collaborating with Monmouth-Independence Networks (MINET) to maximize the ability to serve customers in the community.