CenturyLink shows interest in offering cable TV to Clark County

Telecommunications company to meet with regulators this month, official says

Wiring cable box

Six months after unveiling a new gigabit Internet service to residential and business customers in Clark County, CenturyLink is eyeing another new service for local residents: cable television.

According to Jim Demmon, head of the Vancouver/Clark County Telecommunications Commission, CenturyLink has spoken with officials at the city and county about the different cable products the company would like to provide locally.

“They have expressed interest in seeking a franchise in both Vancouver and Clark County,” he said. “What we have done is provided them with application materials. They’re supposed to be working on those and we have a couple of initial meetings set up starting in mid-February.”

Martin Flynn, marketing and public relations manager for CenturyLink, could not confirm any plans to introduce cable television service to Southwest Washington. However, he said CenturyLink continues to partner with local officials to negotiate franchise agreements.

“These agreements allow us to provide various technology services to businesses and consumers in Clark County and the Portland metro area as well as the many communities we serve,” he said.

If the company submits an application, Demmon said, negotiations over the details of the franchise would begin.

“Once we get fairly close in the details we’ll probably hold work sessions with both the elected officials from the city and county as well as our telecommunications commission,” he explained. “If there are no concerns, we would then finalize the documents and the telecommunications commission would make a recommendation on the proposed franchise. Those would go to both the city and county for approval.”

Though he was unable to comment on any active communications happening behind the scenes, Flynn said that the existing relationship between CenturyLink and the city and county is a strong one.

“They’ve been very responsive and they’ve followed through on everything. [Vancouver Mayor] Tim [Leavitt] and his staff have been great to work with and I have nothing but great things to say about them,” said Flynn.

Demmon said the public would have opportunities to weigh in on any proposed cable franchise agreement. Because Comcast is currently the sole cable franchise owner in Clark County, he opined that a new service would be welcomed by residents.

“Competition is a good thing,” said Demmon. “Regularly we get comments from cable customers saying ‘Why isn’t there more competition?’ I know customers have expressed interest, and I would assume the business community would have similar interest.”