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Friday, December 29, 2017

New Year Will Bring Changes to Cable and Internet for EPB Customers

 With the coming of a new year, some changes are planned for our internet and cable systems.  First, we are pleased to announce that we will be increasing our speeds for our internet services within the coming weeks.  We will be providing this improvement at no additional cost to our customers, and will notify our customers when this change is complete and ready for our customers to enjoy.

The end of 2017 brings us to the implementation of our decision to drop WSMV, WTVF, and possibly WHAS from our cable television lineup. This is not a decision we look forward to carrying out, but it was made necessary by the continuing cost increases demanded by the networks and the broadcast stations that affiliate with them.

Every three years we must negotiate a new carriage agreement with each of the broadcast television stations we carry on our system. The broadcasters are able to charge us for carrying their programming because the companies that own them successfully convinced our Congress to pass laws which give them the right to do so. This was an outright gift to the broadcasters by our elected representatives. They made it legal for this transfer of wealth from our customers to distant broadcast television stations, and that is not even the worst of the laws relative to your cable service.

We are also legally required to carry the network programming (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox) from the Bowling Green broadcast stations instead of being allowed to choose broadcast sources in Nashville or Louisville. So, our decision is not based just on the payment demands of WSMV, WTVF, and WHAS. It is also based on what we are required to pay WBKO and WNKY in order to offer ABC, NBC, CBS & FOX programming. Those payments to the Bowling Green broadcasters set up the financial situation where we felt that many of our customers just would not want to pay the additional cost of maintaining duplicate broadcast stations over the next three-year contract period.

This is obviously not a unanimous decision, as we have heard from some customers that they would rather pay the extra than lose the Nashville and Louisville stations. Rather, it seems to be another situation wherein the community is divided between those that want rates as low as possible, and those willing to pay the additional cost to maintain the programming status quo. In light of this division, our Programming Committee and Board of Directors, made the difficult decision to drop some channels to keep rates low.

But that does not mean that those willing to pay more to keep access to the Nashville and Louisville channels are without options. Much of the local news and weather that many enjoy from WTVF, WSMV, WHAS, and other broadcast stations, is actually available using internet streaming technology from Roku, Amazon, Apple, and other sources - and the coming free internet speed upgrade will help provide a more stable platform for this option!  Roku devices are particularly easy to use and inexpensive to buy (less than $40). We’ve created a video primer on buying, installing, and setting up these devices and you can access that video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_rCZeN_yD8&feature=youtu.be . We will even show it at various times on Cable 6, so you can get more comfortable with this option for continuing to enjoy programming from distant broadcast stations.

The final decision on the fate of WHAS will be made before January 10. We are awaiting another meeting of the EPB Board and hoping for some additional price concession by the WHAS folks. We will keep you posted on the decision about whether WHAS will remain on our system very soon.With the coming of a new year, some changes are planned for our internet and cable systems.  

6 comments:

Unknown said...

If GEPB cable service for Glasgow carries an "off the air" Television station, does this cause any expense to those TV stations? If not, why do they charge for this to happen? It would seem to me that it would be to their advantage to have us as viewers for their stations.

Billy Ray said...

We don't get a lot of insight into how the business works for a broadcast station. Like you, we think that the distribution of their advertising ought to be enough benefit for the broadcaster, but we likely don't have all of the facts. The networks might charge the broadcasters a per cable subscriber fee, but we don't know that. I'm afraid the most obvious answer as to why they do this is, because they can.

deerunone said...

Billy, If WHAS is retained, what will be the annual customer charge, including taxes?? The only good I get from the channel is a little extended Kentucky Derby overage..

Billy Ray said...

WHAS alone would add about $3.50 per month to basic cable bills in Glasgow. This is in addition to any rate increases that might become necessary as a result of price increases from other programming providers.

Chris said...

Most of the blog post was about TV service, with only one small line about the internet speed increase. Any further details on that front?

Billy Ray said...

We have a team working steadily to get the upgrade working, but the upgrade is taking longer than we anticipated. Full detail and implementation ought to be available in a few days.