Delays, delays, delays – the Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to extend the telecommunications firm OpenBand transition period an additional 90 days.
Going into last night’s meeting, the supervisors had until June 17 to make a decision whether to renew a franchise agreement with the Dulles-based cable and internet provider. On a 7-1 vote with Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) opposing and Chairman Scott York (R-At Large) absent, the supervisors prolonged an opportunity for negotiations between OpenBand and the county to reach a compromise.
Supervisor Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn) championed the 90-day extension. While an agreement may not be possible, Buona said, it’s worth more time and meetings with the hopes of sorting out the differences between the two entities.
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, according to county documents.
In November 2011, the previous Board of Supervisors denied the telecommunications firm’s franchise agreement, 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.
The board’s November decision—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.
-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.
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