SPOKANE, Wash. — A new cable provider will soon come to Spokane.
On Monday night, Spokane City Council unanimously approved an ordinance allowing TDS Metrocom to offer fiber in the city.
The fiber will carry cable TV, internet and phone.
Comcast is currently the only cable provider in Spokane. CenturyLink does offer internet, and DirecTV and DISH offer satellite television, but TDS will now become the first universal competitor.
Compared to the existing telecom giants, the Wisconsin-based TDS Metrocom is very small, targeting mostly smaller markets.
"They go into locations where they feel like Comcast isn't serving its customers that well, and they offer faster speeds at lower prices. That's their business model," said Spokane City Council President Breean Beggs.
The company will offer a range of speeds at incremental prices. Fiber internet usually goes up to a full gigabit.
Many companies advertise fiber, but unless the entire grid actually uses that technology, speeds can be compromised. The agreement approved with TDS specifically states the full system must be fiber, all the way up to customers' homes.
"It's going to increase speeds, it's going to increase competition," Beggs said. "So Comcast, which also provides great services for our community as well, they will have competition. And my sense is that will drive them to start using more fiber and faster, and so it should be a great win for customers all around."
The agreement lays out a timeline of 60 days before the company and the city must agree on a start date for construction.
After that, TDS has committed to covering 70 percent of Spokane's residents within five years.
Beggs says that will likely amount to a $100 million plus investment on the company's part.
The agreement also lays out a variety of taxes and fees, which total just under 12 percent of the company's revenue once it starts up.