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E.L. cable service topic of meeting

April 6, 2001

Although Nick Bofferding and his six roommates split the roughly $50 bill for digital cable each month, the price is still a little high for the mechanical engineering junior.

But he doesn’t care.

“I’m sure if it were just me paying, I might care more,” he said. “I have no problems with it. All the channels I want, I get.

“Throw in MTV and Comedy Central and I don’t think most people would care.”

The East Lansing Cable & Telecommunications Commission will meet Monday to receive input from the community about the cable system in the city - good or bad.

The commission is working on refranchising the city’s contract with AT&T’s Broadband cable service, which will work out standards for customer service, the length of the contract and the quality standards.

The refranchising allows the cable company to string cable along public areas to provide services to homes.

Residents may call in to the meeting, which will be broadcast on East Lansing Community Television, Channel 22; e-mail or attend the meeting to share their opinions.

The company and the city sponsored a survey in November to explore what East Lansing residents think about the cable service, which will be presented at Monday’s meeting.

Of the 600 people surveyed, 87 percent said they were somewhat or very satisfied with the cable service.

“We were not surprised,” said Leslie Brogan, the director of franchising and local government affairs for AT&T’s Midwest market. “We were very pleased. We serve a very diverse group. We take that as a kind of springboard for the future.”

Although city officials say it is highly unlikely, the city could select a new cable provider for the city if it felt it was necessary.

“Few communities have choices of cable companies,” East Lansing spokeswoman Judith Taran said. “There isn’t any competition.”

Taran said the commission has begun working on the franchising almost two years before the actual process will take place. It has been 10 years since East Lansing created a franchise agreement with the company.

“It’s a demanding process,” she said. “They don’t want to go through it every two or three years. We don’t want this to be an adversarial relationship.”

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