Verizon to provide cable service to Redmond

An ordinance was passed at Tuesday’s City Council meeting to allow Verizon to provide cable television services within Redmond for a term of up to 12 years.

An ordinance was passed at Tuesday’s City Council meeting to allow Verizon to provide cable television services within Redmond for a term of up to 12 years.

This franchise will allow Verizon to provide services in competition to Comcast, the city’s existing cable operator serving the city through its FTTP (Fiber To The Premises) Network. At this time Verizon’s efforts to provide fiber access to all available residents is approximately 70 percent complete, and neighborhoods south of 24th Avenue Northeast are not included as they are within a competitor’s (Qwest) franchise area. Verizon plans to have all available areas rebuilt to its fiber standard by early 2009.

The city will retain full oversight and remedial powers over any Verizon construction efforts and issues through its Telecommunications Ordinance, standard permitting and rights-of-way authority. As proposed, the franchise agreement meets all significant measures for customer service, liability, enforcement and compensation for use of the public right-of-way.

Many believe that having another provider will cause companies to compete for business, creating a winning situation for customers.

“It’s been proven in some other areas, that when you’ve got two people offering the same service, the rates are going to go down,” said Councilmember Richard Cole. “So we’ll wait and see, but it’s reasonable to think it’s a good thing.”

Council approves several measures

The Redmond City Council approved the following measures at last Tuesday’s City Council meeting by a unanimous 7-0 voting.

• Overlake 520 “bridge” project: An ordinance was approved to allow the city to proceed with condemnation action to secure property rights for the NE 36th Street at SR 520 Bridge project.

The project will provide a needed alternate route for crossing SR 520 in the Overlake Business District. It will provide an additional two-lane street connection, joining Northeast 31st Street to Northeast 36th Street. The project will also provide connection to the SR 520 bike trail and will include both bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

Also incorporated into project plans are features such as a park-like landscaped bridge, pedestrian lighting, and traffic roundabout that will support pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit.

Construction is planned to commence in fall 2008 and completed in the spring of 2010. Northeast 31st Street and 152nd Avenue Northeast will be closed during construction

The costs and expenses of property acquisition have been approved by Council and will be paid from Transportation CIP funds.

• Information Technology plan: In an effort to change the way city staff interacts with citizens, customers and each other, a consultant agreement was approved with Pacific Technologies, Inc. to ensure that technology systems will be ready to support new ways of doing business in the interactive Web age in an efficient, cost-effective manner.

What the agreement will do is to hire a consultant, who will then work with the Governance Team to define a vision for the city’s information technology and create specific strategies and recommendations for achieving that vision.

The “strategic plan,” will result in information systems that support citizen priorities, strategic initiatives, policy objectives and operational needs.

The professional services and expenses for this project of $67,993 will be entirely funded from the Information Services budget.

• Puget Sound Energy easement: An easement was granted which would allow PSE the necessary access and property rights to install, maintain and upgrade underground utility services at the Wells No. 1 and 2 treatment facility located on 169th Avenue Northeast across from Anderson Park.

This easement will not prevent use and enjoyment of the park, since the utilities are to be located underground.

The easement will provide for underground power service to the Well Treatment Facility, and as well as access rights onto the property for future repairs and upgrades.