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Local cable TV purchase has survived a few problems

By Staff | Jan 5, 2009

Bill Eckles

Although there have been some challenges, Bevcomm’s purchase of the cable TV system in Blue Earth and Elmore has been going pretty well, says Bill Eckles, president of the local telecommunications company.

“We have been operating the system less than six weeks,” Eckles said recently. “There have been a few problems, but we are working hard to solve them all.”

Bevcomm purchased the local cable system from Charter Communications in November.

“We basically bought their coax wire system, and their customer base,” Eckles said. “Charter kept their headend system in Fairmont, although they have since sold it to Mid-Continent Cable.”

Bevcomm already owned their own headend reception system in Bricelyn. The company was already in the cable TV business in Bricelyn, Frost, Kiester, Easton and Delavan.

On November 22 Charter basically flipped a switch, turning off their system, and Bevcomm had to be ready to go.

“We found out quickly that a lot of the cable and connections Charter had in place were old and needed to be replaced,” Eckles said. “They had not done a lot of upgrading.”

As cable TV viewers have noticed, the channels on the local system did some switching around. This was due to Bevcomm using the Bricelyn system in Blue Earth and Elmore.

Eckles says more changes are happening to the cable system.

“We are dropping the NBC affiliate out of Rochester (KTTC), and the CBS station in Mason City (KMCT), as of Jan. 1,” he says. “They raised their rates to us too high, and we already have two other NBC stations and one other CBS. We didn’t want to raise the price to our subscribers to keep the other two.”

He adds that new channels will be added in the future. The plan is to have QVC, EWTN and C-Span added immediately.

“Within 90 days we will also be adding between 10 and 20 high definition channels,” Eckles says. “That is something Charter was never going to do.”

The addition will be possible with a new digital system being installed in Blue Earth.

Next summer Bevcomm plans to utilize its fiber optic cable system more, which should improve signal quality.

There are future plans for other communities in Faribault County as well.

“We are going to begin offering cable TV service in Winnebago and Wells,” Eckles says. “We will be utilizing both fiber optic cable and telephone lines to do this.”

Bevcomm is currently requesting a cable TV franchise in Winnebago. Both Wells and Winnebago are currently served by MediaCom Cable TV.

Eckles says Bevcomm will be dropping cable service in Delavan.

“We don’t have the telephone service in Delavan,” Eckles explains. “It would cost around $20,000 to do the upgrade to the system there, and we only have 20 subscribers. It isn’t economically feasible.”

He says the Delavan system will be shut down within the next few weeks.