Input needed at cable hearing Wednesday night

This article submitted by Michael Jacobson on 1/26/99.

Any citizens with suggestions or concerns about the cityís cable service from Triax Cable should air their thoughts at the public hearing tonight at city hall.

The hearing will start at 7 p.m., following the regular council meeting held at 6 p.m.

The cityís cable contract will expire in the summer of 2001. In accordance with the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984, Triax Cable has requested this public hearing. According to the city attorney, the purpose of the hearing is to identify future cable-related community needs and interests and to review the performance of the cable operator.

A representative for Triax will probably be in attendance, listening for ways to improve the current service and meet the cityís needs in another contract.

Cable contracts typically run for 15 years. Triax Cable bought the current contract and took over cable operation in the city in June 1988.

Dennis Wilde, city administrator, said the meeting will be based solely on statements from the public. There will be no council discusion nor comments from Triax.

Anyone wishing to make a statement should sign in Wednesday night at city hall. Speakers will appear in order of their registration, and may have a time limit, depending on attendance. People will be required to speak at the podium with the microphone so their testimony can be recorded and broadcast.

Public response is important so that the communityís future needs are addressed in the next cable contract. Also, any current problems may be resolved by being brought to Triaxís attention. Triax can always be reached toll free at 1-800-332-0245.

To change cable contractors, the formal process must be followed and cause must be given.

ďI get complaint calls here,Ē said Wilde, ďand I say, ĎHave you called Triax?íĒ

In response to a recent newspaper advertisement, Wilde has received over a dozen responses, with most concerned about price and quality.

Triax did raise prices recently. Rick Hanson, Triax general manager in Waseca, said that the rate readjustment had some advantages to customers. The Disney Channel, formerly a $4.95 per month premium channel, will now be included in the expanded basic set. And HBO subscribers will now receive both HBO and HBO2 for the same price.

Another occasional problem is signal quality on local stations. Hanson said the problem is in receiving the aerial signal. Due to Paynesvilleís distance from the broadcast source in the Twin Cities, the reception here is not always clear despite a 300-foot antenna.

Whenever the signal quality on a local station cuts out, it is temporarily replaced by Channel 6 to keep the system running until the signal quality returns.

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