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City OKs cable switch from Charter to Comcast

"Ashland, get ready for the worst customer service on the planet," Ashland City Councilor Rich Rosenthal said in casting a symbolic "no" vote Tuesday, Oct. 21, on allowing Comcast to take over Charter's franchise allowing it to provide cable TV and Internet service in Ashland.

The two cable and Internet service providers agreed to a service swap this past summer, pending approval from the involved cities and the Federal Communications Commission. Charter will take over service in the Midwest and South while Comcast will take over Charter's service in Washington, Oregon and parts of California. 

City Attorney Dave Lohman stated at the beginning of Tuesday's discussion that the city could not reasonably refuse the transfer. "We hired a telecommunications attorney and asked for everything we could get as part of this switch and we got that," he said.

The Ashland City Council voted 4-2 to approve the cable franchise agreement transfer from Charter to Comcast. 

"I wish I could say 'no,'" Rosenthal said in expressing his concerns about Comcast. "To use a term from the police department, you have options. I would ask residents to explore Ashland Home Net and Ashland Fiber Network."

Charter entered into a franchise agreement with Ashland in February 2004. The agreement has been extended month-to-month since the original agreement lapsed. Comcast will need to comply with the terms of the original 2004 agreement until it enters into a new agreement with Ashland. The swap is expected to occur by the summer.

Email reporter Ian Hand at ihand@dailytidings.com or call him at 253-722-4071. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/IanHand_DT.