Customers complain about TV service

Published 11:21 pm Tuesday, May 13, 2008

NATCHEZ — Most residents can see snow all year long in Natchez — they just need to turn on the T.V.

Anyone receiving basic cable in the area will have noticed the snowy haze or endless lines on channels coming into Natchez from areas in Louisiana or Mississippi.

While Cable One’s general manager, Bobby McCool, is all too aware of the problem, the poor service has subscribers perplexed and frustrated.

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“It’s terrible,” Elizabeth Lehmann, local cable subscriber, said. “It’s been this way for years.”

Lehmann said she cannot remember a time when she turned on the television and the channels came in clearly.

“It’s frustrating,” she said.

And what’s as frustrating for Lehmann as the poor quality of service is the lackluster response she said she gets when she tries to confront Cable One with the problem.

“I’ve heard 90 different reports on why it’s bad,” she said.

Lehmann said she has heard reasons for the poor picture ranging from the quality of her television set to the quality of the signal transmitting the station.

“It’s frustrating,” she said. “And I know I’m not alone.”

And Lehmann is not alone.

Carl Knight, fellow subscriber, said he has regularly experienced the same problems as Lehmann since moving to Natchez in 2001.

“It’s foggy,” he said of the picture. “I really wish they could correct the problem.”

But McCool said there isn’t much that can be done to fix the problem.

McCool said the reason for the lack of quality in the picture is actually twofold.

“Output and distance,” he said.

McCool said the distance from Natchez to transmitting stations and the strength of the signal they put out contribute to the picture on the screen.

Stations broadcasting from areas like Monroe, Alexandria, Baton Rouge and Jackson are all between 50 and 100 miles away, McCool said.

Yet another problem facing the viewing audience in Natchez is what McCool called “deterioration from co-channeling.”

Basically two stations attempting to transmit on the same signal further blurs the clarity on the television.

But Cable One is trying to remedy some of the problems.

McCool said hopefully by the end of the year a fiber optic cable line can be used to get a direct feed from Jackson.

Natchez currently receives stations from antenna, not satellite or fiber optic, which McCool said, would provide a better picture.

“It’s not our fault and it’s not their fault,” he said of the signals Cable One receives.

But no matter who is to blame, customers want some resolution.

“Especially since the rates go up,” Knight said.