LACONIA — Comcast, the nation’s largest cable television provider, is planning to provide service to homes and businesses in the city.
Laconia City Manager Scott Myers said Friday that Comcast has submitted a draft franchise agreement, which has been referred to legal counsel. The City Council will consider approval after a public hearing.
Atlantic Broadband now serves the city. This would give the city two providers, potentially providing consumers with more choice and value, Myers said.
“I would assume it’s like in any industry, “Myers said. “If there is competition, it is viewed as a positive thing in the community.”
Comcast provides service in 104 New Hampshire communities, but this would be its first foray into the Lakes Region, said Comcast regional spokesman Marc Goodman. It is now installing service in Rochester, New Hampshire, which is also served by Atlantic Broadband.
Consumers are most concerned with the price and range of offerings a cable company provides, but neither issue is within the city’s purview to regulate.
The city must determine if the company has the financial strength and technical ability to provide satisfactory service and products. It would also require that Comcast lives up to the same parameters in the franchise agreement the city has with Atlantic Broadband.
Goodman said that, in addition to cable television, Comcast’s Xfinity service would provide a full range of products in Laconia including high-speed Internet, phone, mobile, wireless, home automation and home security.
“We believe Laconia offers attractive opportunities for Xfinity and Comcast business products in an area close to Comcast’s existing footprint and part of the same designated market area we already serve,” Goodman said.
“We offer Internet speeds of up to two gigabytes per second and 100 gigabytes for businesses. We have an award-winning video platform with voice remote.”
He said Laconia consumers should like what the company has to offer.
“We’re doing this because we know there’s demand for our products and services,” Goodman said. “Laconia offers an attractive opportunity to respond to demand.”
If the franchise agreement is approved, Comcast would string new cable throughout Laconia, just as it is doing now in Rochester. Comcast gained its franchise agreement in Rochester this year and has been doing street-by-street installations, which are to conclude next year.
Atlantic Broadband did not respond to a request for comment. Last year, Atlantic Broadband purchased MetroCast, which was the cable television service provider in the city.