SUBSCRIBERS LOSE OUT IN NEW CABLE SHUFFLE
From: Edward Franey Jr.
Howard Cable Television has notified its subscribers of a rate increase effective Jan. 1. This represents a 67 percent increase since 1986. They tout service improvement, but is it?
Also, they are adding two new networks as part of the increase. Mr. Tom Beach, general manager, in a letter to his customers contained in the December issue of the Storer Cable Magazine states, "With the additions of these two stellar networks, Howard Cable increases its basic programming lineup offering a total of 34 networks for the basic cable price."
This statement is not true. On Dec. 1, they added the two networks and reshuffled some of the existing channels. In this shuffle, C-SPAN was moved from Channel 16 to Channel 37.
Channel 37 (C-SPAN), Channel 38 (TNN-Nashville) and Channel 57 (TDC) cannot be picked up with the converter they provide for basic service networks.
I wrote to Mr. Beach, pointing out this flaw and his failure to inform the public of the reshuffling of channels as well as an effective date.
He called me, and we had a heated discussion. He asked what he could do to satisfy me. I told him to give me access to the 34 channels I am entitled to for the basic service rate. He offered to revise the converter that would allow me to receive Channel 37 (which I lost in the shuffles).
He informed me in order to receive Channels 38 and 57, I would have to have another piece of equipment installed with a monthly recurring charge of $5.
Summed up -- basic subscribers are entitled to 34 basic channels, but only receive 31. Howard Cable has not told its customers to call their office about having their converters revised to pick up C-SPAN -- which was lost in the shuffle.
Rise up, Howard Cable subscribers, demand to receive what you are paying for by contacting Howard Cable Television, the county cable administrator and your local, state and federal representatives to put a stop to this price-gouging of the cable subscribers.
Also, contact the Federal Communications Commission. This commission proposed on Dec. 13 to reimpose price controls on some cable operations.
Let's make sure Howard Cable is one of them.
As for the service improvement they claim -- we can do without.