Lexington will be getting a second cable provider soon.
On Thursday, the Urban County Council gave final approval to a 10-year cable television franchise agreement with local telephone provider Windstream Communications.
"Windstream is thrilled to have the opportunity to bring Lexington residents our next-generation TV service, Kinetic," said Sarah Day, a senior vice president at Windstream. "We look forward to providing choice to the community and for residents here to experience our interactive and innovative television service."
A written release from Windstream said the company hopes to offer a new cable television service to 50,000 Fayette County households by late fall. It did not give a date for the launch.
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"Pending full execution of the agreement, eligible households would be able to sign up for Kinetic service as soon as late fall," the release said. The statement did not say which Fayette County households would be offered the new cable service.
According to the company, Windstream's Kinetic cable television service will offer high definition at no additional charge; video on-demand; DVRs, which will allow users to record up to four television shows at once; and a wireless set-top box that allows viewers to watch TV in any room.
The release does not say how much Windstream will charge. It only says cable packages will be "competitively priced."
Lexington is the second market for Windstream's Kinetic cable service. Lincoln, Neb., was the first to receive the service last spring.
Lexington already has a 10-year franchise agreement with Time Warner Cable, a deal that was finalized in December 2014 after months of contentious negotiations between the cable giant and the city.
Time Warner will continue to operate in Fayette County.
Under federal communication law, another cable provider can ask the city to reopen the franchise process. Windstream Communications was the only company to ask the city to consider a second franchise.
Federal communications law says a competitor does not have to offer cable to every home served by the current franchisee — Time Warner Cable. But potential competitor companies have to show that they are capable of building that infrastructure, city lawyers have said.
As part of the agreement, Windstream will pay $56,000 to the city within the next 60 days. In addition, it will pay the city $6,000 each of the next nine years. That means the city will receive a little more than $100,000 from Windstream over the next 10 years.
The franchise agreement does not cover or regulate Internet service. In a separate initiative, the city is exploring building a fiber-optic network to increase Internet speeds in Fayette County. It has received bids for that project. An announcement on that initiative is expected soon, Mayor Jim Gray has said.
Windstream provides land-line telephone service in Lexington and much of the rest of Kentucky, but the number of customers has declined as people switch to cellphones exclusively.
Windstream, like Time Warner Cable, also offers high-speed Internet service in Lexington. Windstream's current offerings include digital television in cooperation with Dish Network, a satellite service.
Time Warner Cable offers bundled packages with cable television, Internet and telephone service.