OCEAN PINES – The Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors approved a new contract with Mediacom on Saturday.
According to officials, the new contract will allow the association to move forward from the month-to-month agreement currently in place.
“The new contract provides the same standard services but also addresses several important issues including compliance with federal law regarding the removal of the exclusive use of easements and the rights of way,” said Doug Parks, president of the board.
Parks said at Saturday’s meeting that the new contract had been negotiated and reviewed by a workgroup as well as by the attorneys for both parties and the board of directors. He said it was important for the community to understand that what was being approved was not a retail agreement but a right of way agreement.
“Back in 1978 when the contract was first created, the federal government allowed the exclusive use of the rights of way,” Parks said. “What that means is company ‘x, y or z’ that wanted to come in and also provide services could not use the same easements that Mediacom was granted the exclusive use of.”
Parks said the Federal Communications Commission no longer allowed that.
“In essence this allows us now to be in compliance with a new contract that now allows future and any interested parties to come in and they know they won’t be bound by having to come in through some other easement or some other right of way,” he said. “They can use the existing ones.”
Parks is optimistic that the change will bring more providers to Ocean Pines.
“However, that being said, the incumbent certainly has the crux of the market and I’m sure that there’s algorithms that the other service providers use to determine… whether an investment is worthwhile,” he said.
Under the last Mediacom contract, Parks said the association received 3% of cable television revenues. With the new contract it will receive 1.6% of all Mediacom services in Ocean Pines — phone, internet and television.
“The benefit there is as the medium evolves and the way people consume information changes over time, there’s going to be much more of a demand for internet services and less of a demand on basic cable TV services,” Parks said.
For now, Parks expects the association to receive the same amount it has been, $150,000 to $160,000, with the new contract.