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Rural residents to get cable again

By By MICHELE GERLACH Publisher
Rural residents of Escambia County may soon have access to cable service again.
Summit Communications Monday gained approval from the Escambia County Commission of a non-exclusive franchise giving them the authority to provide cable service to rural areas of the county outside of the corporate limits of Escambia's municipalities.
County administrator Tony Sanks said the county has not been officially notified by Cable South that it would not continue to provide service to rural residents. However, county officials have been told by power company officials, from whom the company leased space on poles, that the lines have been abandoned. Likewise, attempts by county officials and by this newspaper to contact Cable South, located in Tennessee, have been unsuccessful.
Texal Powell, representing Summit Communications, told the commission that the company's intention was to install a fiber optic backbone allowing for a "solid cable system" with 67 channels and broadband Internet service.
He said the company would have a presence throughout the county, with a master head in Brewton and a fiber link to Atmore.
The company will pay the county a 5 percent franchise fee, expected to generate approximately $4,000 in revenue for the county annually.
The franchise was approved, subject to county attorney Thad Moore's review of the contract.
In other business, the county: