Cable company makes changes

By Rob Heselbarth

Customers of Warner Cable will endure one more round of channel realignments and rate changes next week in order for Warner to comply with new FCC regulations.

The channel realignment will create a new basic service as well as a new standard service. The realignment will be effective Aug. 31.

Andrew Bast, Warner Cable general manager, said the current basic service includes 12 channels and will be upgraded to 16 channels.

Bast said the current standard service includes 21 channels and will be changed to include 20 channels.

“We now are offering WTBS and the Discovery channel as a la carte items and adding the Learning Channel to the standard service, which makes for one less channel,” Bast said.

“For the next 60 days customers will have the opportunity to call us and tell us if they want to cancel both WTBS and Discovery, keep both or keep one and cancel the other,” he said.

He said if customers do not call and cancel the two channels within the next 60 days the channels will remain in their service and Warner will charge the customer for the two channels.

Bast said if customers keep both channels they will pay $1.75, which will be included in the monthly price.

“With the a la carte option the customer will be able to pick and choose what they want. They will be the ultimate decision makers,” he added.

“Basically, with the realignment and changes in regards to remote control charges, the differences in prices will be minimal,” he said.

“Customers receiving basic service will pay less for the service and standard service customers will pay 56 cents more each month,” Bast added.

Second Ward Alderman Donna Johnson said cable television service is becoming too complicated.

“I just bought a new cable-ready television with a remote and now we have to buy another remote in order to control the converter box,” Johnson said. “The system is too complicated.”

In Warner’s defense, DeKalb Mayor Greg Sparrow said the cable companies are only doing what the FCC mandates.

“Warner must comply with the regulations and they are trying to make it as unconfusing as possible,” Sparrow said. “Unfortunately, it is a complicated situation.”