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IRON GOAT NETWORKS SEEKS CABLE FRANCHISE IN SULTAN
December 09, 2008
(SULTAN, WA) -- A small Sultan based broadband Internet service provider is seeking a franchise to install a new fiber optic broadband cable TV network in Sultan.
Iron Goat Networks wants Cable TV franchise in Sultan
The Sultan city council will conduct a public hearing on the issue this Thursday December 11, 2008 during the regular city council meeting. The meeting starts at 7:00 p.m. in the council chambers located at 319 Main Street, Sultan, Washington.
At that time public comments will be taken on the request by Iron Goat Networks, LLC for Sultan to grant a non-exclusive 5-year franchise agreement to use Sultan city streets and public rights-of-way for operating and maintaining a cable TV communications system. Citizens unable to attend may send written comments to Sultan City Clerk at PO Box 1199, Sultan, WA 98294-1199.
In the public hearing the City Council must consider among other things to what degree the public will be benefited by granting a franchise agreement to Iron Goat Networks and that Iron Goat Networks has the requisite financial and technical resources and capabilities to build, operate and maintain a cable television system in the area.
Iron Goat Networks, LLC is a small Sultan based company operated by Sultan residents Durward (Ryan) Spott and wife Carolyn Spott. The business was started in 2005 and serves the Internet broadband connection needs of rural communities and small businesses. The company provides wireless broadband service to portions of Sultan, Monroe and Goldbar and is the Internet service provider for the city of Sultan.
FISCAL IMPACT FOR CITY
In return for allowing Iron Goat Networks to utilize public right-of-way and provide cable service to citizens, Sultan would collect as general compensation during each year of the franchise, a franchise fee consisting of five-percent (5%) of Iron Goat Networks’ gross revenue for services rendered to customers within the areas of the city roads covered by this franchise (e.g., the “Franchise area”).
The Sultan city council has the authority to modify, by ordinance, the five percent (5%) of gross revenue fee at any time the City Council chooses to do so during the life of the franchise.
Actual franchise fees that may be paid to Sultan unknown until the system is constructed. Franchise fees are due annually.
BACKGROUND: SULTAN CITY STAFF FUMBLES 1ST APPLICATION
Iron Goat Networks submitted their application for a franchise in January 2008.Through a series of City staff errors and miscommunication, it has taken much longer than necessary to process the application. The city’s staff apologized to Iron Goat Networks for the delay in processing their application.
The draft franchise submitted with the request to set the public hearing on November 13, 2008 was based on a template agreement between Iron Goat and Snohomish County.
After reviewing the proposed Snohomish County template, city staff and the Sultan city attorney realized the Snohomish County template was not as “rigorous” as Sultan’s current franchise with Comcast. The city decided this discrepancy could potentially create difficulties with Comcast under Section 2.5 (Competitive Equity) of the City’s recently negotiated franchise with Comcast.
Following the November 13, 2008 Council meeting, city staff returned to Iron Goat to discuss using the Comcast franchise as the template.
The franchise now under consideration is the template approved by the City Council in July 2008 with Comcast. Iron Goat is asking for certain modifications to the template that are part of the public hearing process.
Following the public hearing, city staff is scheduled to work with Iron Goat to resolve any remaining issues.
WHAT IRON GOAT SEEKS TO BUILD
Iron Goat Networks, LLC seeks to build in Sultan what is known as an “unlit dark fiber” video network; meaning the company will provide no content (such as voice, video or data service) for the network.
All transmissions and equipment necessary for transmitting content would be “provided by the user.” The application by Iron Goat Networks did not state who the user or users of the network might be. The application states the company would provide cable TV services or “open video services”, as defined in a specific FCC regulation, within the Sultan City limits using facilities “proposed to be located within public road rights of way.”
Access to the unlit dark fiber network would be available to the public for a fee.
Iron Goat Networks, LLC says it offers an “in demand” service previously unavailable to a large portion of the local population and that it is looking into many areas to expand to in the short term.
The company says its long-term goals include pre-installation of Internet infrastructure in new subdivisions, wire-line based DSL service and the acquisition of neighboring Internet service providers.
A copy of the company’s application may be viewed on the Sultan city website at