OpenBand, the prime cable and Internet provider for several Loudoun County communities, was denied Tuesday a new franchise agreement by the Loudoun Board of Supervisors.
After several delays and extensions by the supervisors, the group finally took the deciding 5-3-1 vote to turn down the agreement with the Dulles-based telecommunications firm. Voting to deny the franchise agreement was Chairman Scott York (R-At Large), Ken Reid (R-Leesburg), Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin), Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn) and Shawn Williams (R-Broad Run). Supervisors Matt Letourneau (R-Dulles), Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) and Suzanne Volpe (R-Algonkian) were in favor of striking the deal with Open Band, while Janet Clarke (R-Blue Ridge) abstained.
Buona and Williams have repeatedly disclosed meetings they held with representatives of OpenBand to try to hash out a deal for a new agreement, but it appears those talks weren’t enough for the two sides to strike a compromise.
In February, OpenBand submitted a new request for a franchise agreement to provide open video service in the county. Currently, the firm operates its systems in several communities, including Lansdowne and Southern Walk.
The previous Board of Supervisors in November 2011 denied OpenBand’s franchise agreement submission, citing concern over a series of exclusive easements, aside from the county franchise agreement, that OpenBand negotiated with real estate developer Van Metre in 2001. Those easements prohibit OpenBand competitors from serving homes in the Southernwalk at Broadlands, Lansdowne on the Potomac, Lansdowne Village Green and Leisure World communities. Several of those HOAs have filed lawsuits against the telecommunications firm.
Moreover, hundreds of residents have complained that OpenBand’s service is sub-standard.
The previous board’s decision in November—which went against the county’s Open Video System Commission’s recommendation—led to an OpenBand lawsuit against Loudoun County in December 2011, which claimed the supervisors had no basis to deny the franchise renewal. Earlier this year, representatives of OpenBand said they hoped it wouldn’t be necessary to pursue the suit in earnest. With Tuesday’s vote, it’s unclear if that will be the company’s stance going forward.
-Assistant Editor Crystal Owens contributed to this story.
-Editor’s Note: OpenBand is a subsidiary of M.C. Dean, a Dulles-based engineering firm. M.C. Dean is the former owner of the Loudoun Independent, which merged with the Loudoun Times-Mirror in July 2010. Bill Dean, M.C. Dean CEO and President, holds a minority interest in Times Community Media and sits on its Board of Directors.
|The Loudoun Times-Mirror
is an interactive, digital replica
of the printed newspaper.Open the e-edition now.