Cable rates in Ironton on the rise

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 18, 2001

Watching cable television in Ironton just got a little more expensive.

Wednesday, July 18, 2001

Watching cable television in Ironton just got a little more expensive.

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As the monthly cable bill reaches consumers’ mailboxes, Adelphia subscribers will have to dig a little deeper into their wallets to pay for cable service.

Jim Wilson, the general manager for the cable company in this area, told city council’s public utilities committee basic cable service will increase about $5 – reaching $37.82 for basic cable service.

The increase, said Wilson, is needed by the cable company to pay for the increased cost in labor, programming and equipment used in providing cable service. He added the company is also required to invest more money toward developing more products for consumers and the development of the hi-tech equipment, and the the cost to train and teach installers and technicians has increased.

Wilson said the rate adjustment is "not welcomed" by the cable company and added Ironton hasn’t seen a rate increase in two years.

Public utilities members don’t welcome the rate hike, either.

Councilman Leo Ulery called the rate increase "asinine" – citing his decision to vote against the rate hike two years ago. He said Adelphia told council the rate increase in 1999 was needed to bring high-speed Internet access and digital cable to the area.

Although digital cable was delivered to the city, high-speed Internet access has yet to come, although surrounding communities in Ashland, Ky. and Huntington, W.Va. have had the service for some time – a point highlighted by councilman Jesse Roberts.

Wilson explained to the committee that cable service providers are in an increased competition with digital satellite companies and the cable companies are working to compete in the television entertainment market.

The increase equals a 15-percent increase – 7.5 percent for each year – an increase Roberts said doesn’t reflect the average increase in pay consumers receive.

"I don’t get a 7.5 percent increase in my pay every year," the councilman said. "I realize the cost of providing service is high."

Roberts said he didn’t understand why the company would increase the rate at a percentage at one time instead of gradually increasing the rate over a period of time.

Councilman Brent Pyles said the cable company needs to look at the future to keep this type of rate increase from occurring again. He told the cable representatives the company needed to "do its homework" so "we don’t have to sit here in two years and be told the same thing."

Roberts echoed Pyles’ sentiments, saying, "your customers, the citizens I represent, deserve better that this…in two more years, if we face this again, you can expect an outcry from your customers."

Adelphia currently holds the contract to provide cable service to the city. The contract expires in 2006.