Local Government

Iowa City denies Mediacom's allegations that competitor given unfair advantage

Mediacom's lawsuit claims lease agreements with ImOn violate franchise agreement

Panels of fiber optic equipment are shown at the Mediacom office in Iowa City on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015. (Adam Wesley/The Gazette)
Panels of fiber optic equipment are shown at the Mediacom office in Iowa City on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015. (Adam Wesley/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Attorneys representing the city of Iowa City deny Mediacom Communications Corporation’s allegations that the city gave an unfair advantage to a competing telecommunication provider.

In documents filed last week in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa by the city’s attorneys with BrownWinick Law Firm, the city seeks dismissal of all of Mediacom’s claims.

In the lawsuit, Mediacom alleges lease agreements between the city and ImOn Communications violate municipal code and state law by undermining Mediacom’s existing franchise agreement and provide ImOn with an unfair advantage.

Last year, the Iowa City Council approved lease agreements with ImOn, a Cedar Rapids company that has The Gazette Company among its investors. The agreements include leasing for space in the city’s data center to create a communication hub, access to the city’s existing fiber-optic network, and rights to install and maintain a network in the city right of way.

While Mediacom officials argue the city should require ImOn to get a franchise agreement to create a level playing field, officials with ImOn say current plans are only for Internet and telephone services and a franchise agreement isn’t required until television services are included.

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