Local News

Cary Could Pull the Plug on Cable Contract

Posted January 25, 1999

— If you believe you're not getting enough bang for your buck when it comes to cable, you're not alone.

Cary residents are said to be flooding Town Hall with complaints targeting Time Warner Cable, the only cable operator in town.

Up until a few months ago, Cary town officials and Time Warner were meeting informally about extending the current franchise agreement that expires in March. But armed with a number of complaints from residents, Cary officials are re-thinking their options.

There are a ton of channels on cable, but there's only one cable company that provides all of those channels.

"It's the only game in town," says Marilyn Jackson, a Cary resident and cable subscriber. "If you want cable, that's it. So you bet we're upset about a rate increase."

Four years ago, Jackson's cable bill cost her $20 per month. Now she's paying close to $40. She writes the check every month. She also wrote a letter complaining about it.

Jackson and other Cary residents say it's a case of supply and demand; they don't like the supply of cable choices, and they are demanding better service.

Town leaders agree, and are considering making a change.

"It's our desire of the town council that the town investigates the possibility of bringing in competition into the town of Cary for the provision of cable services," says Bill Coleman, Cary Town Manager.

Coleman says there is a wide spectrum of possibilities, including breaking its tie with Time Warner.

Coleman says the town may work with theFCCto terminate its relationship with Time Warner. He says it's also possible other cable companies would be permitted to build in certain parts of town.

The town could also build its own cable system, which it could then run, or lease to an outside cable operator.

Time Warner's Brad Phillips says Cary will get better service.

"We've spent a little over $1.5 billion to eliminate the microwave feed that was an issue with Cary service, the rain fade issues and some outage issues with that microwave link," says Phillips.

Time Warner Cable says they are fully aware of residents' concerns and are trying to put out the best product possible.

Cary town leaders say feasibility studies must still be done before any decisions are made. andMichelle Singer


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