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Monday, June 5, 2023
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More on the CDE referendum

Vote yes CDE

CDE has a 70 plus year track record of proven ability to deliver low cost, reliable, electrical services to the residents of Clarksville. They will use that experience in delivering the telecommunications services that the voters of Clarksville will authorize them to deliver in November.

They are building the fiber network not because of the additional services, which will be used to reduce the costs of building, maintaining, and operating the network. Instead they will be laying fiber to enhance their ability to deliver advanced electrical products and other services that cater to the user like select billing. Catering to the customer is something that is alien to Charter Cable.

Competition is competition; it doesn’t matter that CDE is a public entity, if it saves the consumer money and provides more reliable service. 

In Fayetteville, TN Charter cables delivers their expand basic cable service to residents for $28.30 per month. In Clarksville, TN it’s $49.50 per month. The only difference is in Fayetteville, TN  Charter has competition from the local power provider. That’s a savings of $21.65 per month or $259.80 a year. I don’t know about you but I sure could find a use for that money.

Charter receives benefits from being a private company that CDE doesn’t get, and visa versa. But, you won’t hear CDE whining about them being at a disadvantage with Charter, and in certain areas they really are. I frequently hear Charter whining about the possibility of them having to “GASP” actually compete. Competition is the lifeblood of capitalism. Without it you have a monopoly, duopoly, or oligopoly none of which benefit Clarksville residents

CDE doesn’t receive taxpayer funds. This 88 million is not being taken from the City budget or from your property or sales taxes. It’s actually 56 million over 20 years; the 88 million figure quoted by Charter includes interest over the 20-year term. If CDE pays it off quicker than 20 years then the costs will be reduced. I bet you will find this venture will generate enough money to pay it off much quicker than that.

Out of 665 Public power systems offering telecommunication services, only 4 have ceased offering them. That’s .006%, which have stopped offering their telecommunications services. 99.994% are meeting their cities expectation or exceeding them.

CDE has promised that they will deliver the same level of service with their telecommunications services, as they do for their electrical service. Service will be available 24x7x365. If you have a problem at 3am they will fix it that day. This means no 3-week outages as are commonly experienced with Charter cable. That promise covers their Video, Data, and Telephone services.

The taxpayers are not obligated with a revenue bond. Oh but Charter will say but taxpayers are ratepayers. Which is true if you twist the facts. But in reality that is the primary difference between a Revenue bond, which CDE is getting, and a General Obligation bond.

I may have this number off somewhat as I am quoting it from memory but 83-84 cents of every dollar you pay to CDE goes to pay for the electricity purchased from TVA. So only 16-17 cents of every dollar goes to delivering the service, paying employees, for maintenance, and upgrades on their delivery network.

CDE’s current debt load is an amazingly low $7.9 million. Most electrical companies run debt loads between 100-200 million. Sounds like CDE can live in a budget, unlike Charter, which has a 19 Billion-dollar debt load.

CDE revenues come from city residents, and I would much rather see our hard earned cash going to benefit the local economy than being shipped off by Charter to Washington State and Paul Allen’s bank account.

CDE is a local business, operated for local people, by local people. They deserve the chance to provide us the advanced services that we as a community need for the future. Charter had their chance, and they failed Clarksville and it’s residents on their services, price, and reliability.

If Charter meets consumers demand for new products, if their service is reliable, and/or they charge less, then they can successfully compete against a public entity. They are currently doing so in 7 municipalities in Tennessee and they are making a profit in each one. Charter has not left one single market where a public entity is offering telecommunications services.

Charter’s services are not currently reliable. Charter’s services are not priced competitively. Charter’s product offerings lagged behind other areas in Tennessee and the nation, that is until CDE started talking about building Fiber to the Home and offering additional services. Charter neglected our City. It’s time they paid the piper for that.

Private enterprise has proven that they are not interested in breaking Charter’s stranglehold on this town, so CDE has stepped up and offered to do so at the request of their customers.

It would be different if CDE was saying let us be the only provider of Telecommunications services for Clarksville residents. Not one single voter would approve that; even I would oppose that. But the voters should approve choice and competition in our local marketplace on November 7th. Vote yes for CDE to offer additional services.

Bill Larson
Bill Larson
Bill Larson is  is politically and socially active in the community. Bill is a member of the Friends of Dunbar Cave. You can reach him via telephone at 931-249-0043 or via the email address below.

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