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Potential Mediacom rival picking up speed

ALBANY GA — 10/19/2010 — Albany City Commissioners heard an update from L2 Networks who plan to offer cable, telecom, and internet service by using Water Gas & Light’s fiber optic network.

Commissioners say their constituents are supportive of competition and some want to know details of a potential future date they can try a new provider.

Mayor Willie Adams has asked L2 for financial proof of stability to make sure they are solid. He says his worst fear is that the commission approved L2 and they begin providing service, and later have to stop service due to lack of funds to continue developing the telecom network into unincorporated areas of Albany. “I’ve been assured from the people who represent L2 that they are financially stable. There is proprietary information that they can’t put in public, but we’ll focus on it and they will provide me with that information so we can make an informed decision” says Adams.

The company has already mapped out primary and secondary areas of service to launch their services if approved.

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TV negotiations approved

ALBANY, Ga. — 9/7/2010 — City commissioners have given the go-ahead for the city attorney to begin negotiating with a local telecommunications company to determine whether they should award them a franchise agreement to provide Internet, phone and television service in Albany.

#L2Networks CEO Kraig Beahn pitched the idea to the commission during its work session Tuesday.

#Beahn says that it’s his company’s plan to use Albany as a pilot program to tap into existing fiber optic lines laid by the Albany Water, Gas & Light Commission and provide local residents with what he billed as unprecedented high-speed Internet access, phone service and television service.

#”"We want to demonstrate that you can bring a tier 2 or 1 level of technology and service to a tier 4 market,”" Beahn said.

#After a law change in recent years, telecommunications companies now have the option of obtaining franchise agreements — contracts that allow the companies to provide certain services — through either the state of Georgia or through local municipalities.

#Most of the commissioners seemed to be on board with the idea of having another business in town that could provide telecommunications services, but Mayor Willie Adams urged the commission to take deliberate action to ensure that what they were doing didn’t break any legally binding contracts the city might have with Mediacom.

#”"The idea of competition is a good one, but I think we need to make sure that we aren’t infringing on any other agreements,”" Adams said.

#City Manager Alfred Lott told commissioners that he has dealt with at least two different franchises in previous cities and that in each scenario providing competition lowered prices and increased service.

#”"When you only have one company, the standard and quality is never questioned, but when another comes in, all of a sudden the quality and service goes up,”" Lott said.

#Beahn said that details such as programing and price have yet to be determined but that he believes prices will be competitive with Mediacom.

#The company, which already provides phone service to city of Albany offices and WG&L, says it will be able to provide residential Internet access on a 1 gigabit network, which would rival major metropolitan areas.

#Beahn said that once regulatory hurdles from both the city and the state are cleared, the company could likely accept its first customer within six months. WG&L officials say that the fiber footprint extends out into the county, which means that if L2Networks officials wanted to, they would be in position to provide service in the unincorporated area of Dougherty County as well.

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L2-Networks gets Albany cable go-ahead

ALBANY, GA (WALB) — 9/7/2010 — Albany City commissioners give the go-ahead to negotiate a deal with a new cable provider. Albany Telecommunications Company L2-Networks already offers telephone services for small businesses.

They hope to bring you TV entertainment as well through fiber-optic technology that’s already in place through Water, Gas, and Light. They asked the city commission for a franchise agreement. Commissioners gave the city manager permission to begin negotiations.

“”My constituents are delighted too,”" said City Commissioner Dorothy Hubbard. “”I’ve had several calls from people asking me to vote for it. What we are concerned about is how soon? How long is it going to take? Whether the services will be greater and cost less.”"

“”The video franchise agreement would basically allow us to offer video services, or the equivalent of cable TV in this market and surrounding territories,”" Kraig Beahn of L2Networks said.

Once a franchise agreement is worked out, the company hopes to offer service to the first paying customer in six months. Right now, Mediacom is the only cable option in the city.

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Telecommunications company wants to do business in SWGA

ALBANY, GA — 9/7/2010 — City Commissioners heard a proposal from L2 Networks to run a pilot program that would provide high speed internet, high definition television, and digital voice services to Albany and the surrounding areas.

Kraig Beahn who gave the proposal to commissioners on behalf of L2 says they have a unique way of expanding the telecommunications infrastructure. “What we’re looking to accomplish is basically utilizing Water, Gas, and Light’s fiber rich infrastructure to get out to the community so that in turn we can deploy these services cost effectively” says Beahn.

City Commissioners unanimously agreed to move forward with L2’s proposal.

Mayor Pro Tem Christopher Pike says the competition is healthy for Southwest Georgia. “Anytime you have competition you have a greater sense of customer service and a better product. So we think that by having some competition in this market will open up better services for our residents, and our residents deserve that” says Pike.

The new technical components of L2’s plan would allow Southwest Georgians to experience the same telecommunication competition and services as bigger cities. When asked if the plan was equivalent to squeezing a watermelon of technology down a pipe, Beahn says it’s more like increasing the size of the pipe so you can fit 400 watermelons down the pipe at the same time.

If the proposal is passed, once all technical components are taken care of L2 would launch subscription services for high speed internet, high definition television, and digital voice services within six months.

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Cable competition may be coming to Albany

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – Mediacom could soon have some cable competition in Albany. L2Networks, An Albany telecommunications company, that provides phone and Internet service, wants to get into the cable business.

Right now, the only alternatives to Mediacom are satellite services. At S&S Satellite, they say now that customers can get local networks on Dish Network, which they install, they are getting more of the cable share in the market.

That’s now also the case for Direct-TV, and another cable service, L2Networks may also soon change the game of entertainment choice in Albany.

It’s a service most people pay for every month, cable TV. And for years, wherever you were, you only had one option, and little recourse if you were unhappy.

Steven Lash said, “”The biggest complaint is the price and service and reliability and so it’s three big problems.”" Problems that have led to Lash, co-owner at S&S Satellite, getting new customers switching over to Dish.

He says his new clients are constantly complaining about the quality of their current service. He said, “”I haven’t met anybody that was happy with their service. I’d say 90% of my business comes from cable swapovers.”"

Since local channels went on Dish Network, Lash says he’s seen a three fold increase in his business. He expects DirectTV has seen similar results and says he welcomes the idea of another provider in the area.

Lash said, “”It will benefit everybody because you know it’s only going to make Dish and Direct, Mediacom, everybody, take a look at what they’re doing and how they can better their service, which is in turn, going to better the viewers by better pricing and better channels and better service.”"

Having the choice to pick a provider that offers the best service for their TV needs.

L2Networks CEO Kraig Beahn told WALB that after working through regulatory issues, they hope to deliver service to the first paying subscriber in about six months.

Mediacom Cable told us they are aggressively marketing to keep their current clients and attract new ones. The Albany City Commission is expected to discuss a franchise agreement with L2Networks at their meeting next Tuesday.

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Company may give new option for cable

ALBANY, Ga. — 9/1/2010 — A local telecommunications company is positioning itself to be able to provide cable television service in Albany, officials say.

#L2Networks Corp., based out of Tallahasseee, Fla., and Albany, has asked the Albany City Commission for a franchise agreement to provide cable television service.

#Calls to the L2Networks corporate offices weren’t returned before press time Wednesday, but information obtained from the state governments of Georgia and Florida show that the company has been providing telephone and Internet service since 2007.

#CEO Kraig Beahn incorporated the company in Florida in June 2007 as a domestic, for-profit company, records show.

#In Feb. 2009, Beahn and William Carroll, who is listed as the registered agent, incorporated L2Networks in Georgia with their base in Albany.

#In the city manager’s report presented to the City Commission on Jan. 26, City Manager Alfred Lott wrote that L2Networks took over city and county telephone service Dec. 11, 2009.

#L2Networks has been working closely with the Albany Water, Gas & Light Commission, which has its own telecommunications division. On L2Networks’ website, the company touts its “”fiber advantage,”" which allows for high-speed Internet connections and telephone service.

#WG&L has laid a large amount of fiber cable throughout Southwest Georgia.

#If approved, the agreement would allow L2Networks to provide cable service in addition to its additional products in what could be direct competition for cable provider Mediacom.

#Commissioners will likely discuss the matter at their Tuesday meeting, although the agenda for that meeting has yet to be finalized and won’t be released until Friday.

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New Resolution For Cable Television (Video)

ALBANY,GA. — 1/28/2008 — County commissioners met today and discussed a new resolution that would hopefully help cable competition in Dougherty County. The resolution states that any company that wants to obtain a franchise in the unincorporated area of Dougherty County for either cable or video service can do it by either coming to the county where they want to provide that service and obtain a franchise or under a new state law they can get state wide franchise approval. This would help Dougherty County by bringing in competition for Mediacom which is the only cable service provider in the area. This would also benefit the county as they would be able to collect a five percent franchise fee.

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WG&L dumps cable TV partner

The Albany Water, Gas and Light Commission’s board canceled its plans, for now, to be a local cable TV provider in partnership with L2 Networks. They will try to find other companies to work with.

“We kind of got at a stalemate and we’re trying to move forward with the costumers on the residential side and nothing was seeming to gel here with it. We waited and waited and waited and the commission decided we needed to move forward,” said Director of Telecommunications Ronny Skates

Eva Meisner is upset there is currently no other option for her cable situation and is disappointed in the Commission’s decision because she is fed up with her current provider.

“I frankly would like an option right now because I had to call them up this month over three items that I did not agree with or had a question on my bill,” said Meisner.

Not only are some residents upset there won’t be another cable competitor, they’re also upset there won’t be any new jobs.

Water, Gas and Light promised hundreds of new full time positions that can’t be filled now.

Cable customer Ann Williams thinks a little healthy competition is what consumers need in Albany.

“With the way the economy is today, we need all kinds of competition in everything. There should always be competition,” said Williams.

“I would like another company here to sit down and compare things,” said Meisner.

The commission will meet soon to talk more about the future of local cable TV service.

Skates went on to say they are not scrapping the idea of offering cable TV all together. He said they’re reaching out to other companies to see if this project may still get off the ground.

Water, Gas and Light is still doing business with L2 Networks to provide internet service to businesses.


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