Cable One announces investment, rate increase

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 30, 2000

Cable One plans to spend nearly $400,000 this year on a standby power supply that will help the company deal with power outages in Natchez.

Bobby McCool, business manager for Cable One in Natchez, said the standby power supply will run on batteries. That way if the company loses power during a storm, for example, its customers who haven’t lost power won’t lose their cable service.

&uot;This will help us reduce our outages,&uot; McCool said.

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Three weeks ago, customers in the Dunkerron subdivision area lost power for about 16 hours after a storm swept through Natchez, downing three utility poles Cable One needed to provide service to that area. Technicians worked to restore service by the next morning.

McCool said customers who haven’t lost power but do lose cable service may not realize that the company itself has lost power.

After the outage occurred three weeks ago, some customers complained they had problems reaching an operator with Cable One’s operating service.

That prompted Mayor Larry L. &uot;Butch&uot;&160;Brown to ask the company to consider using a local answering service.

When customers now call the local number after hours to report outages, the company’s out-of-state answering service pages a technician on call.

&uot;When we do have a major outage that affects thousands of customers, all of them call at the same time,&uot; McCool said. &uot;We only have three lines that are forwarded to our answering service.&uot;

McCool said the company is considering changing to a local answering service.

Cable One also hopes to rebuild the Natchez cable system &uot;in the near future,&uot; McCool said, including adding new channels and Internet service.

While the end result of those improvements could be two years away, McCool said the company wants to begin building the infrastructure — including adding 20 miles of fiber optic lines — this year.

The company is raising its basic cable rates effective May 1, from $28.95 to $31.45. McCool said.

&uot;That covers our operating costs,&uot; McCool said, noting increases in gas prices and network fees sparked the rate increase.

But he said the company’s rates are still low compared to services in similar communities.