Wendy Reuer, Published December 23 2013
Midcontinent files application for Fargo’s second cable franchiseFARGO – Midcontinent took its first formal step in seeking a cable franchise here Monday, paving the way for some residential customers to have a second choice for cable service – possibly as soon as this summer.
Midcontinent announced last month that it is expanding to Fargo, where Cable One has been the sole provider of cable in Fargo homes, other than the satellite services.
Fargo city commissioners Monday forwarded the franchise application of Midcontinent to the Cable Service Committee for approval.
“We’ve been looking a long time for competitors in the cable industry in Fargo,” City Commissioner Mike Williams said.
Clay Stevens, the West Fargo-based director of regional operations for Midcontinent, said the company expects the process of installing cable services across the city to take at least three years, possibly as long as four.
Stevens said Monday that once the franchise agreement with the city of Fargo is final – a process that could take about a month – construction can begin on the infrastructure. He said some of it, including a main equipment building near 45th Street and Main Avenue, is already in place.
The cable TV and Internet provider, which is based in Sioux Falls, S.D., first entered the North Dakota market in 2006 in West Fargo. It later ex-panded to Moorhead.
“You’ve gone through this whole thing in West Fargo and Moorhead, so we welcome you to our community,” Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker said.
Midcontinent officials have said the total cost of expanding services to Fargo will be about $55 million.
Competition in the cable market may translate to lower prices for customers, particularly for introductory plans, an expert said when Midcontinent made its initial announcement.
While prices for services in Fargo have not yet been released, Stevens said Midcontinent has heard a “very positive” response from residents interested in gaining service.
“We’re very excited to be part of the Fargo community, finally,” Stevens said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530