Cable One to improve its service in Vidalia

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 15, 2000

VIDALIA, La.- If all goes well, Cable One will soon bridge the Mississippi River to provide better service to its 1,565 Vidalia customers.

Cable One has already applied to the State of Mississippi for a permit to install fiber optic cables across the river bridge, Bobby McCool, general manager of Cable One’s Natchez-based area office, said at Tuesday night’s Vidalia Board of Aldermen meeting.

Actually the company is expecting, with government approval, to install fiber optic cables in both Vidalia and Natchez, McCool said. Cable One has more than 9,000 customers in Adams County.

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That will allow the company to transmit higher-quality pictures and sound and to offer more channels and services in the future. As it now stands, Vidalia customers receive cable channels via a microwave signal from Natchez. If the permit is granted, Cable One should have the fiber optic cable installed and in use in the next nine months. &uot;But if we don’t get permission for that, we’ll still have to update our antenna,&uot; he said, adding that the current antenna is &uot;outdated, in my opinion.&uot;

Cable customers at Tuesday’s meeting noted that they have had reception problems in the past, mostly due to power outages and squirrels gnawing on cables.

To help make service more reliable, Cable One is now installing battery-operated standby power supplies that will turn on automatically when an area’s power goes out.

Still, there is little anyone can do about the squirrels. &uot;That’s a problem in a lot of places,&uot;&160;said McCool, whose company took over Marcus Cable’s local service area in August 1998. &uot;They love those cables.&uot;

Fiber optic cable installation, setup of standby power supplies and other improvements will cost the company about $500,000. Still, McCool said Cable One has no immediate plans to raise rates to help pay for those improvements.

&uot;Our rates aren’t due for another review until April or May of next year,&uot;&160;he said, adding that cable companies determine their rates based on formulas devised by the Federal Communications Commission.

Later in the meeting, aldermen adopted a resolution asking the Louisiana Legislature to approve $6.2 million in capital outlay funds in its spring session for the Vidalia Landing riverfront project.

The board also voted to:

4Advertise for bids for three new police cars to replaced aging vehicles.

4Take bids for a new dump truck under advisement. Scott Truck and Tractor bid $36,769.60, while Timmons International bid $33,648.47.

4Approved an ordinance allowing the town to participate in the financing program of the Louisiana Municipal Natural Gas Purchasing and Distribution Authority. That could help the town buy natural gas at a lower cost in the future.

4Approve an occupational license for Tritel Communications and an occupational license and sign application for the Omega Clinic for Women.