CRYSTAL FALLS—City residents will get a chance to sound off about what kind of cable television service they want when they receive a survey with the March utility bills.
“We’ll send a survey out with the March newsletter to see what people want and find how many analog sets we still have out there,” City Manager Dorothea Olson said.
Olson, City Council member David Sherby and city electrician and television service technician Dan Graff met Jan. 23 to discuss the future of the city’s cable system. Olson said the group decided that the first step would be access the existing system.
“We’re going to have someone come in and balance the whole system,” Olson said. “That’ll give us an idea of what kind of shape everything is in and what we have to work with.”
The committee will research improving the system’s headend equipment and converting some of the remaining analog equipment to digital. Part of the survey will determine how prevalent analog television sets are in the system.
Due to the cost of new digital equipment, purchase decisions must be brought to the full City Council.
Technicians should begin balancing the system in early February, Olson said. The cost is about $6,000.
Currently, only part of Crystal Falls’ 32-channel system is digital. Olson said a digital system provides a superior television image but can cause problems for customers with older sets.
Residents pay a monthly rate of $27, with HBO offered for an additional $13.50 per month. Satellite and internet television service have cut city subscribers from 800 residents to about 550.
“We have a fee the city is charged monthly for channels,” Olson said. “If we are going to spend money on cable service, we want to be sure residents want what we are offering.”