• 66°

Supervisors approve franchise agreement with MaxxSouth

The Lafayette County Board of Supervisors has entered into a 10-year franchise agreement with MaxxSouth, which will provide cable television and, subsequently, internet services to more people in Lafayette County.

The agreement includes the requirement for MaxxSouth to pay the county 5 percent of gross revenues on a quarterly basis, and requires MaxxSouth to comply with FCC technical performance standards to insure picture quality and sound delivered over the system.

District 1 Supervisor Kevin Frye said he’s most excited about two provisions of the agreement in particular: the company shall provide cable service to all areas in the county with a minimum of 35 dwelling units per street mile, and also provide a digital map showing the exact location of all equipment of the cable system installed or in use in streets and other public places in the county.

“It’s beneficial to both of us, to MaxxSouth for their business purposes and the county,” Frye said. “The term of the agreement is 10 years, and it kind of solidifies a relationship between MaxxSouth and the County as it relates to certain rights-of-way, things like that. It also solidifies our relationship with them, in regards to the expansion of communication services for residents.”

MaxxSouth’s services are not new to Lafayette County residents, as the company has been in the area for years under different names. The company also has a similar franchise agreement with the City of Oxford.

According to Richard Ferrall, regional manager of MaxxSouth, franchise agreements are something the company is eager to consider.

“Franchises aren’t necessarily required by the state in county areas, but we want to franchise,” Ferrall said. “I think it’s just a cleaner, better way to operate within the community. It becomes more of a partnership at that point.”

In the spirit of partnership, Frye said newfound access to the service map will help the county not only hold MaxxSouth accountable for the areas it currently services, but also advocate for more expansion, where possible.

Because of advancements in technology, both Ferrall and Frye said “where cable goes, internet will follow.”

In matters of clarification with the 35 homes-per-mile clause in the agreement, Ferrall said it’s designed to meet the needs of those adjacent to the City of Oxford and work its way out as the population density increases. However, MaxxSouth will not skip over residences in sparsely populated areas on the way to areas that meet its requirement.

“Obviously, we will look at any extension, in any areas that are growing, where there are homes available. If it makes sense economically, we’re going to build into that area,” Ferrall said. “The way the agreement is written, that 35 homes per mile is from where we have to go back into our system and attach and expand. Any expansions in those areas are going to be done via fiber, so we have to make sure we have the capacity in our fiber network to get there. It’s not just ‘This cluster of 35 homes.’ We’d have to include everything we have to pass to get there.”

The agreement will also bring cable services to all county-owned buildings and to any public or private elementary or secondary school within 200 feet of the cable system. Other counties that have already entered into franchise agreements with MaxxSouth include Prentiss County, Oktibbeha County, Neshoba County, Scott County, Leake County and Calhoun County.