Alabama City OKs Franchising Agreements for Local ISPs

(TNS) – Hanceville, Ala. , profiting from a municipal revenue stream that may have been dormant since the advent of landline-based Internet in the city: franchise agreements with fiber-optic Internet providers whose physical infrastructure uses rights-of-way.

At its last regular meeting, the Hanceville City Council adopted a new fiber Internet franchise ordinance that requires area providers to remit five percent of annual gross revenue to the city. The lien fee has been widely posted to municipalities across the country, and is intended to compensate cities and towns for maintaining public rights-of-way in exchange for utility companies using the land to transmit wire-based Internet signals to customers.

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As such, the concession agreement does not apply to satellite internet services and other over-the-air internet services that do not require infrastructure within the city. Currently, three providers offer ISPs in Hanesville that fall under the terms of the ordinance; They include Spectrum, AT&T, and Sprout.

City officials did not have information available to estimate how much annual revenue the new 5 percent franchise fee might bring. The ordinance sets the term of the initial franchise agreement at ten years, with subsequent automatic renewals every five years thereafter, unless either party—either the city or the internet company—stops providing the service.

It will be up to each provider whether to absorb the 5 percent increase or pass it on to Hanceville customers, either as a line item in future Internet bills or via a higher monthly service fee.

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In other business at its Ordinary Meeting on January 26th, the Council did the following:

  • All terms of a $273,000 grant from the US Department of Homeland Security to reimburse the City for the purchase of mobile command and communications equipment for use by the Honesville Police Department have been approved and approved.
  • The Hanceville Civitan Club has been recognized for its active role in funding local scholarships, as well as programs and activities for schools and the wider community, in conjunction with designating the first week of February as Civitan International Clergy Week of Appreciation.
  • Approving the surplus of four police cars and purchasing four vehicles to replace them.
  • Surplus miscellaneous fire equipment and office equipment, including vehicles, deemed obsolete, obsolete, redundant, broken, or otherwise no longer needed by the City have been approved.
  • He submitted action to consider a proposed ordinance to introduce a new T-1 residential zoning class for small homes within the Hanceville city limits, pending further deliberation by the Council.
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