SHENTEL Seeking Cable TV Franchise In Frederick

It would compete with COMCAST which currently provides cable TV for Frederick.


Frederick, Md (KM) COMCAST could be getting some competition. During a Board of Aldermen workshop on Wednesday, Assistant City Attorney Stephan Davis said Shenandoah Cable Television, which often goes by the name SHENTEL, has requested a franchise agreement with the city.

“This would be the first time that SHENTEL has opened up dialog to express their interest to get established in the city,” he said. “They currently do not have access to any of our public ways, to any of our streets and walkways.”

Bryan Byrd, the Government and Community Affairs Specialist for SHENTEL, said if the franchise is granted, the company will build a fiber optic network in Frederick, rather than the regular co-axial cable, which will focus on broadband. In an answer to a question from Alderwoman Kelly Russell, Byrd said it would probably be a combination of stringing lines on utility poles and  placing them underground.

He said SHENTEL is a 115-year-old company based in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. “It provides cable, wireless internet as well as wireless services,” Byrd said. “We have an extensive wireless network from Pennsylvania down through Virginia into West Virginia and into parts of Kentucky and Ohio as well.”

He say SHENTEL is also building a system in Charles Town, West Virginia.

Byrd says SHENTEL is excited about the opportunity to come to Frederick.”We saw a lot of positive dynamics happening in the city,” he said. “It was clear that was a locality we wanted to participate in. That we wanted to partner with you all and be part of the good things that you are doing.”

If the franchise is grated, SHENTEL would compete with COMCAST, which already provides cable TV service to Frederick.

Byrd says SHENTEL respects COMCAST and looks forward to the competition. But he says the company will gain customers if it moves into Frederick. “We have looked at Frederick, and we are confident in the city that they’re going to be users,” he says. “There are enough people who are hungry for choice. There are enough people who are broadband supporters, and we are very confidence in the service that we’re offering.”

A public hearing on the franchise agreement with SHENTEL is scheduled for Thursday, September 17th, 2020.


By Kevin McManus