Prairie Village to send letter to SureWest expressing desire for more cable competition

Prairie Village residents wishing they had more choices for cable providers in the area may get an assist from city hall later this week.

City Administrator Quinn Bennion says he plans to send a letter to SureWest Communications by the end of the week expressing the city’s interest in having additional providers serve the area. At present, Time Warner Cable is the only traditional cable company providing multi-channel television service to Prairie Village, though companies like AT&T U-Verse and DirecTV offer competing services.

SureWest told the city earlier this summer that it was considering expanding into the Prairie Village area, and planned to make a decision this fall. The company said that a letter from the city would help executives make their decision. Some on the Prairie Village city council expressed concerns that such a letter would be seen as a preference for once private company over another, but others countered that they heard often from residents about the desire for more competition, and that the letter would simply be a demonstration of that sentiment.

Bennion presented a draft of the letter to city councilors earlier this week. He said he received a few comments about the original copy and will make edits accordingly before sending it to SureWest.

The move comes just a week after a blackout of local channel KMBC on Time Warner prompted a wave of calls to Prairie Village city hall. Assistant City Administrator Dennis Enslinger said between 15 and 20 people called the city after the blackout began to express their desire for another cable option.