MI: Comcast making changes to local cable channel

Posted on January 24, 2008 - 7:54am.

from: Milan News

Comcast making changes to local cable channel

By Sue G. Collins, Staff Writer

PUBLISHED: January 24, 2008

Residents tuning in to Channel 18 on their television to watch the latest city council meeting, public forum or local commission meeting will soon find the cable access channel has moved to 902 on the digital TV dial.

Saline and Milan's municipal channels will be moving as a part of changes in Comcast's channel line up, and legislation requiring that all stations convert to a digital format by February 2009.

The Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005 is being implemented to reclaim current TV frequencies to be used for emergency communication.

The law requires all full-power over-the-air TV stations to convert to a digital format by Feb. 17, 2009.

Any viewer not utilizing paid TV services — cable or satellite — or not using a digital-ready television will need a converter box to receive the over-the-air broadcast.

Residents who don't have cable or satellite television can receive two $40 coupons good toward the purchase of two digital converters. The cost of a convertor is $50 to $75 at retailers. Without a digital-ready television or converter, viewers won't be able to receive any over-the-air broadcast.

Comcast is offering customers without a digital-ready television the option of receiving a converter box free of charge for one year. After the year, there will be a charge, but Comcast is not saying what the cost will be. Currently, Comcast bills $4.20 each month for a convertor box.

Chris Slay is the information services manager for the city of Milan. He has tried to keep residents informed by posting updates on the city Web site.

"After the cable legislation was adopted in Michigan last December, the city's oversight ability was transferred to the Michigan Public Safety Commission for Comcast," he said. "If you wish to file a complaint, please call the Michigan Public Safety Commission."

Contact information for the MPSC is 1-800-292-9555 or www.cis.state.mi.us/mpsc/comm/sqsquery.html

Until residents "go digital," they will be unable to view their community channel once the change has been instituted.

Saline City Council member Glenn Law expressed frustration on behalf of his constituents at the last regular meeting when he reported on the changes.

"Taxpayers who want to access their community channels and must now pay an additional fee to do this or take action to be able to tune in. We need to help in any way," he said.

Residents with complaints may call the commission at 1-800-292-9555 or visit the Web site.

( categories: Comcast | MICHIGAN | State Franchises )