OpenBand Franchise Decision Deferred
Southern Walk residents plead for denial, but supervisors have questions.
The Loudoun Board of Supervisors rejected a motion to deny the OpenBand Communications franchise agreement Tuesday, citing questions about what the denial would mean to communities served by the open video service provider.
Several supervisors said they needed more time to review aspects of the item before voting, and the majority agreed to defer the final vote until just before the November election. At least four supervisors appear poised to deny the franchise.
The company has been operating beyond the deadline of its initial franchise for about 30 months.
Many Southern Walk residents who spoke during the Oct. 11 public hearing saying they want competition that does not require them to pay for two services, which numerous residents currently do. Southern Walk HOA representatives said they have been negotiating with a satellite video provider that can provide higher quality service to the community at a lower price than OpenBand, but it would require the county to deny the franchise.
A spokesman for OpenBand rejected concerns about service quality and compared its service to competitors. He said the company offered its communities a comparable service at a lower price than Verizon and Comcast. OpenBand also rejected new provisions in the franchise requested by supervisors. The spokesman suggested only a small, vocal minority were dissatisfied with the service – contrary to speakers from Southern Walk – and that the company was being treated unfairly.
Several Southern Walk residents scoffed at the suggestion that OpenBand's technology was comparable to competitors.
Besides Southern Walk, OpenBand serves Lansdowne on the Potomac, Lansdowne Village Greens and Leisure World. Residents from those communities did not speak.
More details about the hearing will be reported tomorrow.