Residents still complaining about cable

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 25, 1999

Public Service Commissioner George Byars’ office got several calls from area residents Wednesday complaining about problems with Cable One. The problem is, Byars’ office does not regulate cable television.

Still, Byars said he will forward complaints to the cable company and will work to do what he can to solve the problem for residents.

&uot;We’ll take it and run with it,&uot; Byars said. &uot;We’re working on it right now.&uot;

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At Tuesday’s board of aldermen meeting, Alderman David Massey suggested residents call Byars to voice complaints about cable reception. Massey said he is still experiencing problems with reception, and has heard many complaints from constituents about the problem, particularly with off-air channels.

Cable One is raising its rates effective Sept. 15. The company had frozen the rate increase earlier this summer after the city asked if Cable One could improve reception of the off-air channels.

Local Cable One Manager Bobby McCool said the company has done all it can to fix reception problems. The company spent $200,000 upgrading its system.

&uot;We’ve done everything we can possibly do,&uot; he said. &uot;The rate increase wasn’t associated with the off-air channels.&uot;

McCool said increases in fees cable networks charge the company forced Cable One to increase its rates to customers.

Many of the off-air channels come from network affiliates located up to 100 miles away from Natchez, causing reception problems, McCool said. Weather often plays a factor as well. &uot;We cannot improve it 100 percent,&uot; he said.

McCool said he did not know how many complaints his office may have received since the rate increase was announced.

The city could choose not to renew the franchise contract with Cable One when it expires next year, but it would have to have another company waiting to take its place.