HMU Telecom sale in near term appears unlikely

    HARLAN – It doesn’t look as if the Harlan Municipal Utilities is considering any sale of its telecommunications utility soon as it continues to gather data and information in an effort to position the utility better for its customers in the future.
    HMU Board Chairman David Tyrrel said HMU currently doesn’t have an offer to purchase the telecom on the table, and that collectively “we are not entertaining an offer currently and we are not as a group leaning in that direction.”
    Farmers Mutual Cooperative Telephone Company’s (FMCTC) offer to purchase expired in mid January, and there has been no additional correspondence from the company.
    The purchase offer came on the heels of an election last November that gave the board the authority to consider disposal and sale of the telecom.  A small group of Harlan residents had petitioned for that election, and those that voted gave the board the authority, not mandate, to consider a sale.
    At its regular board meeting Thursday, Feb. 10, the HMU Board of Trustees reviewed a report from its telecommunications committee, which is being charged with developing a telecom comprehensive plan.
    Among the information provided was everything from marketing and survey considerations to the determination of the number of programming agreements, service and support agreements, and retransmission agreements that are not assignable or assumable (77 in total) should the telecom be sold, to name a few.
    “Basically, the approach taken was to work up a short, abbreviated stat plan, more or less a work in progress,” explained HMU CEO Ken Weber.  “From a technology standpoint, we’re in good shape.”
    The next step would be “to do a more in-depth study including surveys and reviewing the financials we’ve already prepared, looking at the overall industry, looking at the statewide perspective for fiber optics and municipal utilities.”
    Following approximately 45 minutes of discussion, no official action was taken, although it was informally suggested the telecommunications utility continue with its comprehensive plan efforts.

Full article in the NA



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