Baltimore Co. cable nears completion Parkton area due service by end of summer.

March 03, 1992|By Leslie Cauley | Leslie Cauley,Staff Writer

Comcast Cablevision plans to complete its Baltimore County system this summer, when cable television service to the Parkton area in northern Baltimore County is expected to be turned on.

The addition of Parkton will complete the requirements of Comcast's franchise agreement with the county, which was granted in 1978. That agreement requires Comcast to provide cable services to the county's populated areas.

With the addition of Parkton, Comcast said, cable will be available to 98 percent of county residents.

The rest live in rural areas where the potential number of subscribers is too low to justify the investment, said Tom Gorman, Comcast's director of engineering. It costs Comcast about $18,000 a mile to lay the fiber optic lines used to transmit cable television programming.

But that doesn't mean that people who live in rural Baltimore County will never be able to receive the service, which includes Home Box Office and the Discovery Channel among the 45 channels offered.

"It's not economical right now, but we will expand as those areas build up," Mr. Gorman said.

Cable service to the Parkton area could be available in June, July or August, he said.

Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. has laid 47 of the 70 miles of fiber optic lines Comcast needs to complete the Parkton project. If there are no delays, the rest should be ready by early summer.

Monthly Comcast rates range from $7.95 for limited basic service to $22.99 for a package of services. Monthly rates for premium services such as HBO and Home Team Sports range from $8.99 to $14.99. New customers must pay separate installation and hook-up fees.

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