For Immediate Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 6, 1999
Washington, D.C.-based Starpower Communications cleared a major hurdle in its planned expansion to the Maryland suburbs with Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan`s recommendation that the County Council approve Starpower`s cable franchise agreement.
Starpower, upon Council approval, will begin constructing a state-of-the-art fiber optic network through which telephone, cable and hi-speed Internet services would be offered to 14 municipalities and 200,000 homes in the nation`s eighth wealthiest county.
"We are very pleased that the County Executive has recommended this agreement to the Council. It means Montgomery County residents are very close to having a competitive choice in their cable television provider," said Starpower Co-chairman John McCallum.
Upon approval of the franchise by the Montgomery County Council, which could occur on or before June 1 following a public hearing, construction would begin. It would mark the third major approval for Starpower in the Washington area. Starpower already provides service in the District of Columbia and will begin providing service in Gaithersburg, Md. shortly.
Starpower is a joint venture between RCN Corporation of Princeton, N.J. and Pepco Communications, LLC, a wholly-owned, non-regulated affiliate of Potomac Electric Power Company (POM: NYSE). RCN is the nation`s first and largest facilities-based provider of communications services to the residential market.
Starpower will be offering Montgomery County residents a 94-channel basic cable lineup and optional premium services to bring the initial channel line-up to over 140 channels. "Residents will be able to receive approximately 50 percent more basic channels for at least a 10% cost savings over the incumbent cable provider plus much, much more," said McCallum, who is also President of Pepco Communications.
The franchise agreement grants the 14 county municipalities high speed Internet access for municipal use. "This is a great opportunity to have these municipalities stay on par with the county using an advanced fiber optic network that Starpower will construct to serve its customers," said McCallum.
Starpower also will offer residents unlimited, two-way, high speed Internet access. Additional discounts are available when more services are purchased as part of a bundled package with cable TV and phone service. "Customers will see immediate benefits should they try our high speed Internet service," McCallum added, "including substantial cost savings over other providers on top of the cost savings from eliminating a second dedicated telephone line."
Starpower plans to begin its construction in Silver Spring, Md. The agreement calls for a four-year construction timetable for completion of the initial build area. Starpower plans to bring its advanced fiber optic network closer to the end user than any other telecommunications provider.
"Residents are going to demand bandwidth and capacity as everything goes digital in the future. Consumers will be using the Internet more, and home-based businesses are increasing at a high rate. Starpower`s True Local Network is leading edge and will bring the future to Montgomery County residents today. We commend the leadership and foresight of the County Executive and his staff for recommending Starpower`s advanced technology to the residents and businesses in one of our Nation`s leading communities," McCallum added.
Montgomery County is the largest in Maryland with a population of nearly 850,000 and more than half of its 300,000 households have computers.
Additional information about Starpower may be found on the company`s Web site at www.starpower.net or by calling toll-free to 1-877-STARPOWER.
Point of Contact:Robert Dobkin