OCEAN PINES – For the first time in the history of Ocean Pines, more than one cable service will be available to residents.
On Tuesday, the Ocean Pines Association (OPA) Board of Directors approved a 10-year agreement with Comcast. The agreement means Mediacom will no longer be the only service provider in Ocean Pines.
“Anytime you can provide competition for similar products both sides of the competition have to do a better job,” said Tom Terry, a former board member who helped finalize the contract. “They have to be innovative. When you have a contract, which was Mediacom only for years, no one could come in and compete. We opened the doors for competition a couple years ago. Comcast is the first to take advantage of it at this point. That doesn’t mean there can’t be a third or a fourth.”
The board held a special meeting Tuesday evening to approve the contract, which has been in the works for some time. Doug Parks, OPA president, thanked Terry and OPA attorney Jeremy Tucker for their work in developing the agreement.
“It was a good effort,” Parks said. “It worked out well.”
The agreement, which is effective immediately, requires Comcast to construct a service provider system within five years. Comcast will also install up to 25 video outlets for Ocean Pines buildings and will provide free, public WiFi at certain common areas within the Pines at no cost to the association. OPA will receive a 1.6%
“right of access” fee based on annual gross revenues that Comcast earns in the community.
Parks said OPA used the contract that had been developed for Mediacom as a starting point and then adjusted it based on the current situation. Terry said it had to be altered because OPA was working in this case with a carrier who didn’t have a network in place in Ocean Pines. The agreement eventually negotiated ensures that Comcast will build a network in the Pines within five years.
“The product mix that Comcast is going to bring to the table is very powerful,” Terry said. “They are a very top-notch company no question about it. Contractually, I’m guessing 90% of this is what we had for Mediacom, adjusted for a company that’s going to be building new as opposed to adding to an existing network.”
Resident and former board member Cheryl Jacobs said she was disappointed with the fact that Tuesday’s meeting was set with little advance notice to Pines membership.
“I’m a little upset that there wasn’t more notice about this meeting,” she said.
Parks acknowledged there’d been little notice but said Comcast had needed the agreement signed by a certain date.
“There were circumstances that required us to do it in this fashion,” he said.
Resident Joe Reynolds praised the board for getting the contract completed.
“This is a major plus for this community, no matter how you look at it,” he said.
According to OPA, cable television first came to Ocean Pines in 1979 with Triad CATV. Simmons Cable TV bought the system in 1987 and took over the agreement with the association. Simmons was sold to American Cable TV Investors 5 Ltd. In 1992 and Mediacom bought ACTV in 1997.