By Greg Ellison
(Sept. 12, 2019)
Market competition for Ocean Pines internet and cable TV service became a reality this week when the OPA finalized a deal to bring an additional service provider to the area.
OPA President Doug Parks said following Tuesday’s contract signing with Comcast that the roster of internet and cable providers would be doubled.
“This is not a replacement,” he said. “They will be in addition to the incumbent vendor which is Mediacom.”
Parks said OPA Attorney Jeremy Tucker and former Board member Tom Terry assisted during the contract negotiations with Comcast.
“Comcast is being offered the same kind of contract as Mediacom has been offered,” he said. “That is the ability to use our rights of way in order to provide services to Ocean Pines.”
Parks stressed the arrangement would not affect current Mediacom customers.
“Mediacom is a service provider to Ocean Pines for cable and internet services,” he said. “Mediacom is already there and has been there for a long time.”
In a “History of Ocean Pines – Maryland,” author E.A. Rogers said the OPA cable franchise, which was initially granted in 1978, was taken over by Simmons Cable TV after it purchased Simmons Cable TVin 1987.
In 1992, Simmons was sold to
Investors 5 Ltd. In 1997, Mediacom bought out ACTV and has been the sole provider since that time.
“Comcast understands that they’re already competing in a market that has a single service provider,” he said. “It’s up to them to make sure the services they have are something that the clientele within Ocean Pines really wants.”
As for implementation schedules, Parks said service launch dates would be forthcoming.
“We asked … and [Comcast] said they want to make sure, number one, the agreement was signed, and number two that they coordinate with all the resources they have at corporate before they provide a schedule as to how they’re going to roll things out,” he said.
Parks said inking the contract on Tuesday was the culmination of extensive consultations, with both residents and board members concerns aired during public meetings.
“Behind the scenes all along, the information has been going back and forth [and] the parties have been sharing information regarding the contract,” he said.