Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Channel Changes Coming February 1

At long last, our conversion of all analog cable channels to digital transmission is nearly complete. At the first of January we converted the remaining analog channels and we continue to help folks adapt to the change and we continue the process of delivering and installing the DTA boxes necessary to keep older analog televisions working.

As February 1 comes around, we have another small change that will impact all cable customers. In our negotiation process with WNKY and WBKO, they have asserted their rights to be the only source for ABC, NBC, and CBS programming in Barren County. Our agreement with WNKY also stipulates that their CBS programming will be viewed on channels 10 and 515, and that their NBC programming be on our channels 7 and 514.

In order to comply with their wishes, our WTVF programming will move to channels 23 and HD 558 on February 1. Our WSMV programming will move to channels 16 and HD 559 on the same date. Network programming on WTVF, WSMV, and WHAS will be switched such that it all comes from the Bowling Green stations mentioned above.

This change will not require you to reprogram your televisions again. The only hassle will be finding your favorite local newscasts from WTVF and WSMV. You will have to learn to find them on the channels listed above. We are sorry for this inconvenience, but the broadcasters have a very strong hand in these matters and we are complying in the hope of saving our customers from even higher licensing fees in the future.
Thursday, December 31, 2015

It is the Witching Hour for AMC

As we suggested in a couple of earlier blog posts, if an agreement isn’t reached by midnight December 31, AMC may demand that we, along with hundreds of other cable companies, pull them from the cable lineup. Our programming supplier, NCTC, has been trying to negotiate a sensible and fair agreement with AMC for several months, but AMC’s aggressive demands for shocking rate increases, a ten year contract, and demands for us to add five additional channels that they own (and pay dearly for those channels too!), simply did not seem fair to NCTC, EPB, or our customers.

We want to continue carrying AMC Networks and providing programming like The Walking Dead, but there has to be a limit to what these networks can demand of you, the customers who ultimately must pay for the programming. The terms that AMC is demanding would initially add $2 to everyone’s cable bill (on top of the other increases coming due to contracts already signed with other programmers) and that cost would increase sharply every year for the next nine years. Just think about how video programming is evolving. We surely cannot commit to paying for AMC at a spiraling rate for the next ten years; especially when so much video programming is going to streaming services.

While we will continue to negotiate with AMC through our programming vendor NCTC, it seems that those discussions may go forward for the time being, without AMC on our lineup. We hope to strike a reasonable deal with them in the near future, but that is only a hope and we have no clear vision on whether they will become realistic in their demands. We know that this is not going to set well with a lot of our customers who really like The Walking Dead and other AMC programming. We realize it is highly prized programming and we will continue to negotiate the best deal possible for all of our customers
Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Tough Cable Television Discussions Continue Through 2015

While we have talked a lot lately about progress and issues surrounding our analog-to-digital channel conversion project, and that conversation will continue; there is another matter we are battling on your behalf that we have not talked about lately. This is not a new issue. Rather it is the recurring matter of broadcast channels, and other cable programming vendors, making outlandish demands for program access fees, as well as demands that they be the exclusive outlet for certain programming.

A number of programming contracts have expired this year, or will expire at the end of the year. Some of those vendors have settled for reasonable rate increases, but a couple of them are still hammering away at us with demands for exclusivity and staggering rate increases. Those vendors are AMC Networks and Max Media Kentucky (owner of WNKY-CBS and WNKY-NBC in Bowling Green). Shortly after the first of the new year, we will also begin a painful negotiation  with Turner Networks.

AMC is riding the popularity of its Walking Dead series as it demands huge increases in the fees for AMC channel, as well as demanding that we add (and ask you to pay for) five more of the channels they own, even though we do not want them. We, along with over 700 other small cable operators across the nation, purchase the majority of the programming you see on TV from National Cable Television Co-op (NCTC), which gives us better pricing and bargaining leverage.  NCTC is in charge of the negotiations and while we certainly believe an agreement will be reached, there is also a remote possibility that AMC will walk away from the negotiations and require all of the cable operators to take AMC off until an agreement is reached.  If you would like to read more about these negotiations, with continually updated information, you may do so by clicking this link.  We will make every effort to get the best deal possible for our subscribers working through this co-op.

The situation with Max Media/WNKY is even worse. They sought, and received, FCC permission to virtually force WTVF and WSMV off of any cable system serving Barren County. We are in discussions with them and we hope to get them to honor the wishes of the people of Glasgow by allowing us to continue carrying some of the programming on these stations, but the outcome of those talks is still up in the air. They are also demanding very large fee increases for their programming.

Both of these battles are ongoing, and likely will continue throughout the remainder of 2015. We will keep you posted on how all of this develops, but a satisfactory outcome seems unlikely for the people of Glasgow. We are again caught between the dueling issues of dropping programming, or paying a lot more for it.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Can We Talk?

Even though we use our website, Facebook, Twitter, the RBG blog, Cable 6 and the Weather Channel scroll, we know that there are still people not getting the important information about our services that we distribute often. So, we are providing another service that helps fill that gap.

Everbridge is a service that adds text messages, emails, or voice phone calls to our methods for giving our customers essential information about their electric power, cable television programming, and internet service issues. To use this service, customers must either sign up themselves or give us their information over the phone, or through a face-to-face visit to our lobby. Participants can receive a text message, an email or an automated phone call when our Dispatch team has important information for customers. Messaging can go to more than one person, more than one way, and customers can receive messages about more than one address if they choose (on behalf of an elderly parent, for example).

To sign up we will need a name, street address and the preferred method for the customer to be contacted (an email address and/or a phone number selecting whether it should be phone call or text). If customers choose more than one way to be contacted, they need to be clear on the preferred order. Customers can sign up right now by clicking this link https://member.everbridge.net/index/892807736723615#/login or by using the links on the main front page of www.glasgow-ky.com or  www.infotricity.org . There is no charge for this service, and customers may update their information at any time after signing up.

We are trying very hard to make sure that essential information finds a way to be heard and understood by all of our customers, and we hope our customers will find this new free service useful.

Monday, December 7, 2015

EPB Internet Upgrade Time is Now

Glasgow EPB has traditionally given its internet customers a Christmas gift in the form of increased download speeds for the coming year. This year, the tradition continues as we will increase our standard internet download speeds as well as our upload speeds. All of our cable modem products will receive upgrades at no additional cost. Merry Christmas!

It certainly is not as easy to do this as it might sound. In order for us to make this improvement for 2016, we are replacing the very heart of our cable modem system with a much more powerful piece of hardware and software. And, like all big construction projects, there will be some inconvenience before everyone gets to enjoy the upgrades. On Wednesday December 9, at midnight, we will take down our internet service so we can install the new hardware. The work should be completed by 6:00 am on Thursday.

Some of this work is already ongoing. A lot of the space we freed up by converting the analog cable channels to digital will be used to allow many years of upgrades to the internet system. Now that most of the digital conversion project is done, we are now about to begin an operation similar to a heart and lung transplant, but in our case we must do that operation while the patient is still walking down the street! It is going to be difficult and complicated, but that is what we do.

Please stay tuned to our blog, our Facebook page, and Cable6 for updates on this project.