OpTel set to offer phone, cable service

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<B>By KAREN SUCHARSKI</B> <FONT SIZE=-1><I>Staff Reporter</I></FONT>

Have you heard about a new company thatwill offer local and long-distance phone service and cable television inEl Paso County? You will.

But it’s not any of the telecommunications giants who are currently dukingit out with U S West over prices for leasing local phone cables.

It’s Texas-based OpTel Inc.

Instead of becoming embroiled in the fight for large corporate accounts,OpTel Inc. is going after the residential multifamily units, of which severalare under construction or have been recently completed in Colorado Springs.The company has four clients in the area but no one is "live" at this point.

OpTel set up an office in Denver in December 1995 to take advantage of thetelecommunications liberalization laws, which took effect July 1, accordingto an OpTel employee. The company employs 16 in Colorado. The 300-employee,privately held company reported operating revenue of $51 million in fiscalyear 1995. The company operates in 11 cities including Denver, Dallas, LosAngeles, and Tampa, Fla.

The company installs the equipment for phone service and cable televisionin new and existing apartment buildings that have already wired for cableand for telephone service. OpTel owns its own cable television network, includingcoaxial cables. It leases phone service from local and long-distance providers.The two services are then billed jointly.