Cable service swap coming to Ashland
Ashland cable TV and Internet customers of Charter will most likely be moving to a new provider by next summer.
The two companies agreed to a service swap this summer, pending approval from the cities involved and the Federal Communications Commission. Charter will take over Internet and cable in the Midwest and South while Comcast will take over Charter's service in Washington, Oregon and parts of California.
The swap will take another step towards approval at the Ashland City Council meeting tonight, Tuesday, with councilors set to approve a resolution consenting to the transfer of cable franchise control.
Charter entered into a franchise agreement with Ashland in February 2004 and has been extended month-to-month since the original agreement lapsed. Should the service swap be completed, Comcast will need to comply with the terms of the original 2004 agreement until they enter into a new agreement with Ashland. Fees incurred by the city as a result of the service change, up to $3,500, will be reimbursed by Comcast.
On Comcast’s website, Internet with a fast connection as well as HBO and some TV stations would cost $44.95. But the offer is only good for 12 months; after that, the cost increases to $69.99 for another 12 months. After two years, the price jumps to $114.93. Other options are higher, according to Comcast’s website.
An introductory offer for an Internet connection that is about the same speed as the one Charter offers is $29.99 from Comcast. However, after the introductory period, the Internet cost from Comcast is $58.95 to $66.95.
One feature Comcast brings is the Pac-12 Network. While Charter customers have been without that channel, Ashland Home Net already offers the channel as part of their expanded basic cable package.
While Ashland Home Net will lose this competitive advantage, the city feels their customer service for that and the city's Internet service, Ashland Fiber Network, will keep them competitive. City Administrator Dave Kanner linked a recent J.D. Power satisfaction survey in his Sept. 12 news report that shows Comcast with 672 points (out of a possible 1,000) for customer service satisfaction; just below the regional average of 674 points. Charter falls even lower on the survey with 648 points.
"AFN’s local, knowledgeable, and friendly customer service will serve AFN well when facing this next new competitor," Kanner said.
Email reporter Ian Hand at email@example.com or call him at 253-722-4071. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/IanHand_DT.