WOW! cable to be available by end of summer

By Laurie Hamame -

A new broadband provider will expand into Oberlin by the end of summer.

City council has approved a deal to allow Wide Open West — operating as WOW! — to use about 1,450 city-owned poles for its equipment, giving residents another option for cable, Internet, and phone service.

There are roughly 2,800 poles located in Oberlin, with 400 owned by Frontier Communications and by statute the city is required to lease them to licensed telecom companies.

A $238,000 contract with Davey Resource Group was approved by council to provide a cost estimate and to perform make-ready engineering work compliant with the national electric safety code standards.

Staff shortage and time constraints prevent Oberlin Municipal Light and Power Services from completing the estimates, said director Doug McMillian.

Under federal law, make-ready engineering must be completed within 60 days, with an additional 105 days to complete the work.

Davey Resource Group engineers estimated the cost to be $164.14 per pole. WOW must pay back the entire amount, resulting in no fiscal impact for OMLPS.

Michael Kaczmarski, director of operations for the Cleveland area, said Oberlin seems like a promising opportunity in terms of building costs and community needs.

Laurie Hamame can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @HamameNews on Twitter.

By Laurie Hamame