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Harrietstown to renegotiate its broadband contract

SARANAC LAKE — The town of Harrietstown’s contract with Charter Communications is set to expire on Aug. 27, and the town will renegotiate a deal with the company.

Charter Communications offers services under the brand name Spectrum.

According to Harrietstown town Supervisor Michael Kilroy, the only other internet provider in the area is Slic Network Solutions, which the town approached a year ago but received no substantial offers to make the switch.

In the coming negotiations, which are likely to begin in the next two to three weeks, the town will look for deals and discounts, free internet and increased coverage. Some residents of the town still have no broadband (high-speed) internet coverage, such as Mary Brown, who spoke at a town board meeting on July 25.

“Isn’t it reasonable to say at this point, given the longevity of this and the expansion of Spectrum, that they ought to make cable available to anyone in the town who wants it?” Brown said.

The town does already get the maximum franchise fee, which is something it will look to keep by the end of negotiations. The franchise fee is 5% of what Spectrum makes. In 2017, through the months of October to December, Spectrum made a franchise fee base of $147,000. The town received $7,351. Kilroy said the town generally receives around $25,000 from Spectrum.

The village of Saranac Lake was originally supposed to enter agreements with the town; however, that was when the town believed its contract was up at the same time as the village’s, which is up on Dec. 9, 2020.

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