Bresnan Communications switches programming

Don't be surprised if a favorite TV show comes up missing in the next couple of weeks.

Bresnan Communications, a cable company that serves about 2,600 customers in Craig, is revamping its digital programming starting in early September. Some shows will be tacked onto basic cable and other programs will sport different channels in the expanded cable lineup.

The broadband Communications Company that serves about 320,000 regional customers also will soon offer high-speed cable Internet.

The service will be available for home or commercial users.

Packages start at $42.95 for subscribers who already have cable. As a bonus, high-speed Internet customers don't need to subscribe to an Internet provider, said general manager Tommy Cotton of Craig's Bresnan Communications.

"If speed is what you want, we're a far better product than DSL (Digital Subscriber Line)," he said.

DSL is currently offered in Craig.

According to the statistics, high-speed cable Internet travels up to 1.5 megabits per second downstream and 256 kilobits per second upstream. A basic DSL connection can travel up to 256 kilobits per second.

A demo at the company's office at 580 Russell St. will soon invite the community in to compare the speed differences between a DSL connection and high-speed Internet.

Tuning into television shows will be a little different for Bresnan customers.

Chief Executive Officer William Bresnan of Bresnan Communications decided to eliminate four adult pay-per-view channels, which included programs such as the Hot Network and Playboy.

The change will cost the company about $1 million a year in lost revenue, estimated Cotton.

But, despite the projected loss, Cotton said the decision was made because "that's how strongly (William Bresnan) feels; that he'd rather lose the revenue than have those programs on."

Other channels that will soon disappear on the digital side, include the Sundance Channel, News World International and Inspirational Life.

However, a slew of new channels will be added in almost all TV viewing categories, including 11 new channels in Spanish programming.

In basic cable, the Home Shopping Network, two C-Span channels and a Lifetime channel will be added at no cost yet to current customers.

New subscribers to basic cable will be charged about $5 more for the service, but those grandfathered in to the service won't see an immediate cost increase, Cotton said.

"I want to make this clear that it won't affect customers until later in the year," he added.

Other price changes vary according to customers' TV packages.

In the expanded digital category, customers will see new channels such as Country Music Television, the TV Guide Channel, Food Network and a Catholic-based channel called the Eternal World Television Network.

By far, the largest change among programs is an addition of 19 programs that moved into Digital Basic. Some of those include A&E Biography, Toon Disney and an outdoor channel.

Thirty-one channels have been added in the digital pay-per-view channels. A sampling include HBO Comedy and Showtime Showcase.

Installing the necessary equipment to make the technological changes is expected to take two weeks, Cotton said.

As the company gears up to offer the high-speed Internet connection, Cotton invited the public to try out Bresnan's service first before DSL because their company is "part of the community."

"There are some (Internet) companies that don't even give a dime to the local community," he said, in comparison of Bresnan with other communications companies.

"It's kind of like the shop local thing."


Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or ahatten@craigdailypress.com.

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