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Sharpsburg to renew agreement with Adelphia

November 02, 2004|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

SHARPSBURG - The Sharpsburg area will continue to get its cable service from Adelphia for at least two more years.

The Sharpsburg Town Council voted 5-0 on Monday night to renew the town's franchise agreement with Adelphia.

High-speed Internet access could be installed before Thanksgiving at Sharpsburg's library, fire hall, ambulance hall and elementary school, an Adelphia spokesman told the mayor and Town Council at Monday night's regular monthly meeting.

The town's cable agreement was going to expire Dec. 31.

Adelphia sent the town a letter earlier this year inquiring about a five-year deal and town officials decided at October's meeting to inquire about a one-year extension.

After hearing Adelphia spokesman Brian Burger explain about upcoming changes at Adelphia, Town Attorney Charles Wagaman suggested the council approve a two-year deal.

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Adelphia is in the midst of the largest bankruptcy in the nation, $21 billion, Burger told town officials.

The company is going through the auction process and if there is a bid of more than $17 billion, Adelphia will have a new owner or owners, Burger said.

Wagaman said a two-year deal would give the town time and experience with the new owner or owners and time to negotiate a new agreement.

Forty companies have inquired about the auction, including Time Warner and Comcast, Burger said after the meeting. The auction results should be known by the end of 2004, which is why Burger wants to get the free Internet access for public buildings in the town hooked up before Thanksgiving.

Town officials said they would talk to the appropriate officials about getting permission for Adelphia to do that.

Town Councilwoman Patti Hammond, who was absent Monday, had said at October's meeting that she was still waiting for Adelphia to install the Internet access in public buildings as part of the franchise agreement.

Burger said the town could have the library's Internet connection split to get access upstairs in Town Hall.

Town officials also inquired about local programming.

Burger said Channel 10 has some local programming, but that local communities don't take advantage of Adelphia's public education and government channel. The latter channel is similar to Antietam Cable Television's Channel 6, which shows local government meetings and announcements.

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