Champaign City Council discusses service provider iTV-3’s future

By Walbert Castillo

Champaign subscribers of iTV-3, a wireless service provider in Central Illinois, will be able to access cable television and obtain speedier internet connection by February 2015, if approved by the city council next week.

The company has over 4,000 fiber-optic cables running under homes and local businesses, and approximately 900 active customers on iTV-3’s network. Levi Dinkla, vice president of iTV-3, said iTV-3 is a privately-owned company that aims to save subscribers money.

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“The consumer has a choice, if they don’t like the way they’re being treated or they don’t like anything at all, we don’t have contracts so they’re free to go whenever they want,” Dinkla said. “Due to the way we treat them, it’s the only long-term answer to sustain our growth.”

Using gigabit fiber-optic broadband, iTV-3’s internet will provide a connection almost 20 times faster than the current speed, Dinkla said.

“We feel with the right motivation and as long as we’re taking care of quality and treating people well and making them feel great about doing business with their provider, we think that Champaign can be a fully developed gigabit city,” Dinkla said.

Planning for this new service outlet since November 2013, Dinkla said iTV-3 has started to engineer the fiber-optic cables underground to ensure it will be available for use in Champaign by February.

“Every single day, our engineering department takes a look at advanced mapping programs and basically mapping out how to get information from the core of our network to the end users of homes, apartments and business,” Dinkla said.

In a previous franchise agreement with Comcast, Deb Feinen, city council member at-large, said Comcast was not willing to maintain their local office in Urbana, which meant customers would have to obtain their equipment by mail if a problem arose.

However, because iTV-3 is managed by Family Video, Dinkla said all of the local Family Video businesses will be offices for iTV-3 offering equipment to the citizens of Champaign.

“We think having more local offices is an advantage and not a disadvantage,” Dinkla said.

The Champaign City Council unanimously voted to add this matter to the Nov. 25 agenda to further discuss the resolution.

Walbert can be reached at [email protected].