WADSWORTH — City and township residents pay different rates for the same cable and internet service through the city-owned CityLink, but legislation introduced Tuesday would equalize the charges.
“We have had an (added fee) for the out-of-city folks in the past, and that was brought up at the beginning of this year by the cable commission,” Service Director Robert Patrick said during City Council’s Committee of the Whole meeting.
According to data provided by Patrick, the monthly rate for basic cable service is $21.60 for subscribers within the city and $23.75 for Wadsworth Township residents. The proposed rates would take effect in October, and make the cost for basic cable $25 for city and township residents.
“This isn’t a true utility, keep that in mind. This is more of an enterprise fund, more of a subscription-based business,” Patrick said.
“When you are in that environment, it is a little difficult when folks that live on one side of the street are paying a little bit more and they know that.”
Ward 2 Councilman Bob Titus said that by making internet and cable services cost the same for city and township residents, city subscribers could see a rate increase of as much as
10 percent or 11 percent, depending on what levels of services they subscribe to. Township residents, on the other hand, would not see those same increases since they already are paying more for the majority of the services offered by CityLink.
“We are talking about retaining customers,” Titus said. “My bill goes up 8 to 10 dollars, and that is 12 percent of the bill, I am probably going to start looking elsewhere.”
Titus said competing television and internet providers in the area — Time Warner and Spectrum — then could gain those CityLink customers.
Patrick said that buildout costs have been realized in the 21 years since CityLink was founded, and the city is now in a position to level the playing field between city and township residents.
The different rates also have caused confusion for area residents when CityLink advertises promotions, Patrick said.
“We get accused a lot of times of not being up front because we don’t post both of those, usually in specials and different things,” he said.
Patrick said the cost increases are a direct result of the increases CityLink has to pay for its programming, and not to boost its bottom line.
“You could almost look at it as a one-time re-levelization,” Patrick said. “It is a correction.”
The legislation will have a second reading at council’s meeting Aug. 7.