Ohio towns that have been riding free on the Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC-WI) fiber optic I-Net for as long as 27 years will have to start dipping into the municipal coffers to pay for the privilege, thanks to a change in state law designed to encourage competition for cable services.
The system links computers and phone lines inside schools and government buildings, between schools and even the various police departments which share data and access to remote cameras. It's also the back-up for governmental phone systems and has been that way since franchise agreements were hammered out in the 1980s.
As of Nov. 1 the state says that can change and TWC has already informed a number of Akron-area communities the free ride's about over.
"People pay for water, sewer, electricity, gas and phones without complaining. Like any other business, we want to be treated like everybody else. It is a cost-based service," Bill Jasso, a Time Warner spokesman told the Akron Beacon Journal.
The towns, of course, don't quite see it that way. "We own all the equipment and take care of the maintenance, unless the actual fiber cable line is down," grumbled Copley Township ITS specialist Dave Sattler. "All cable will have to do is collect the money."
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