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AT&T calling on city

POSTED: July 9, 2014 4:00 a.m.

Dawsonville once had just one choice for cable and Internet service, but the choices are rapidly expanding.

The city currently boasts two providers, Windstream and North Georgia Network, and wireless is available through ABT Wireless in certain service areas. Windstream remains the lone option for cable television.

According to Dawsonville Mayor James Grogan, however, AT&T recently applied for a permit to run lines within the city limits.

"About a week ago, AT&T asked for a permit to run a single line out to one of the city water towers," he said. "However, nothing else in terms of Internet access or services has been indicated as of yet."

Grogan said that attorneys for the city and the company are in talks to "see what AT&T's intentions are."

"I've been speaking with AT&T's counsel with this and we are working through it in a very expeditious manner," said City Attorney Dana Miles.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Grogan said that AT&T lawyers have stated that initial plans only call for an increase in cell reception for the immediate future.

In preparation, the city has drafted a franchise ordinance in the event that something does come about.

Under the existing language, the city would allow AT&T to "construct, erect, operate, maintain and own a communications system for local and long-distance telephone service, Internet and cable television services."

The measure would allow AT&T to place fiber optic cable in Dawsonville.

It would also allow the city to collect a franchise fee annually equal to 3 percent of subscription earnings from local customers.

Any formal action taken on the franchise ordinance has been tabled until the council's Aug. 4 meeting.

According to Miles, there is a potential change in the law that may allow the council to continue with plans without needing an ordinance at all.

"These changes just went into effect last week, so we want to explore it," Miles said. "I believe this change will allow the city to achieve the same results without an ordinance by using a resolution and permit."

Also during the council's meeting Monday night, officials heard from both Chris Poje with G. Ben Turnipseed Engineers and Kathleen Henderson with the U.S. Department of Agriculture about improving water piping and infrastructure for the downtown area and sewage capacity improvements for Gold Creek Foods Inc.

No action was taken after either presentation.

 

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