Beginning Wednesday, September 25, Time Warner Cable (TWC) will begin offering some channels in a digital format only. The channels affected include government access channels 5 and 10, public access channels 13 and 82 and educational access channel 80.
In order to continue to receive the channels, those TWC customers who have analog televisions or televisions that are not connected to digital cable equipment will need to install free digital adapters. TWC will install the adapters for a fee of $39.99. Those who request the adapters by November 25, 2013 will not be charged a 99-cent monthly fee for the adapters until January 1, 2015. Those who do not request the adapters by November 25, 2013 will be charged 99 cents a month beginning in December 2013.
The Mayor's Chief of Staff Rick Hoppe met with TWC officials about public concerns with the changes, and TWC responded today. Mayor Beutler issued the following statement:
"The Administration hoped to address concerns expressed by Time Warner Cable customers and the Cable Advisory Board regarding continued access to the public education and government (PEG) channels and the additional cost of the adapters. We were particularly concerned about low-income households. Following the recommendations of the Cable Advisory Board, we proposed that Time Warner extend the length of time that the adapters would be offered free of charge and provide free installation for those who were unable to connect the adapter and those who had technical issues.
"While Time Warner was unwilling to lengthen the amount of time before charging for adapters, they are willing to consider waiving installation fees for those households experiencing technical difficulties. We had hoped for an improved outcome on the cost of the adapters for low-income families. We are very concerned that some residents will no longer be able to view live coverage of important local meetings like those of the City Council, County Board, Planning Commission and School Board without installing a device and paying more each month.
"We are disappointed with Time Warner's decision, but the Mayor's Office has no authority to force Time Warner to follow the recommendations of the Cable Advisory Board. Those who have questions about the change and those who have trouble connecting the adapters can contact Time Warner for assistance."
TWC Customer Care Representatives can be reached at 1-855-286-1736.