Baltimore is sick and tired of Comcast. The ISP signed an agreement with the city back in 2004 that makes it the exclusive cable TV provider in the city until 2016. That means the city is also largely stuck with Comcast for its Internet needs, but the city wants to change that.
The Baltimore Business Journal reports that the city has hired Magellan Advisors to look into the possibility of expanding its current fiber network to businesses and residential customers. The move comes after Baltimore was passed over for Google Fiber last year. Instead of waiting to see if Google would expand to Baltimore, the city will now take matters into its own hands.
Before Baltimore residents get their hopes up, they should know that all of this is more of a preliminary study for now. Magellan Advisors will be coming in to see if it's at all feasible to expand the current fiber network that's only used to support the city's public radio safety system. Beyond expansion, the group will also look at ways in which the city can convince companies like Comcast to offer better service at a cheaper price.
Going back to the fiber network, the city's ultimate goal would be to lease it out to some private company. That private company may very well be Comcast as the city doesn't want to leave them out of the negotiations. If Comcast doesn't bite, the city would like to welcome in any other takers that would introduce competition.
The introduction of competition would probably do wonders for Baltimore as Comcast has already proven that it's willing to lower prices when a superior service is introduced. A recent report found that that the telecom would be lowering prices in Provo, Utah ahead of Google Fiber's rollout in the city before the end of the year.
In Baltimore, Comcast has an opportunity to stay on the good side of the city and its citizens. It should work together with Magellan and the city to offer cheap and fast fiber services to the residents. If not, it stands to lose out on a lot of business as people will not only choose an alternative for their Internet, but they may also cut their cable as well.