AUBURN – Calling a new cable, telephone and Internet network a boost for the Twin Cities, Auburn councilors approved Oxford Networks’ franchise agreement Monday.

“This will be a valuable asset for our cities,” Mayor Norm Guay said. “Competition is healthy, and I think this will be good for our community.”

Oxford Networks is scheduled to present the franchise agreement to the Lewiston City Council at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Lewiston City Hall.

The company plans a $15-20 million investment in the Twin Cities over the next five years. Company President Rick Anstey said the company plans to offer fiber-optic based telecommunications services to at least 2,000 customers in downtown Lewiston and Auburn within a year, and expand services to 4,000 customers in the next 18 months. Anstey said the company hopes to have both cities completely wired within five years.

The company would provide cable television, local and long distance telephone and high speed Internet access over the network.

“All of our services would be digital-based, very fast and high quality,” he said. “All of our products offer choices.”

Anstey also said the company would build a customer service center in Lewiston or Auburn, but the company has not decided where.

“We do know that we want this to be a place where our customers can walk in and talk to us,” Anstey said. “We also plan to answer our telephones with a real person. We want to use our technology for other things.”

Anstey said the company picked the Twin Cities because it’s close to their home offices in Buckfield.

“Mostly, we understand the market,” he said. “We are a local company hoping to make a difference, and help the viability of this community.”

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