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Adelphia: Changes mean better quality, service

June 28, 2002|By DARREN SIMON

Staff Writer

Adelphia Communications has finished rebuilding its local system — a step the area general manager said will improve picture quality throughout the company's coverage area and increase service.

The fact Adelphia has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection should not affect local service, company officials say.

Come Monday, the service changes will include increased rates as the cost of the basic cable service increases to $32, up from $29, and the cost of full basic increases to $37.95, up from $34.95.

The full basic service will include two new stations — TBS and Fox Sports West 2.

As part of the system rebuilding, the arrangement of networks will change as Adelphia groups similar programming come Monday.

That means all the sports networks will be grouped together as will be music, cable news, Spanish and home-shopping networks. Other miscellaneous networks also will be grouped.

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The TV guide available in this newspaper Sunday will not reflect the changes. However, there will be a channel lineup available for reference purposes in the front section of Sunday's newspaper.

The TV guide inserted July 7 will reflect the changes.

The rebuilt system also means that Adelphia, which serves most of the Imperial Valley, now can offer digital service throughout its coverage area.

Over the past year — in which changes included adding 328 miles of fiber optic cable, the use of aluminum cables and the removal of older microwaves — digital service has been made available to some areas.

Tom Mixon, Adelphia's local general manager, said now all areas can obtain digital service, which — depending on the digital package selected — can come with hundreds of new channels.

Mixon said the goal of the changes is to improve the quality of service and provide additional channels for the local community.

To tap into digital service, subscribers must obtain a digital box from the cable company and the basic digital package will be $11.99 above the non-digital full basic service of $37.95.

The basic digital package includes some 70 additional stations above the 70-plus stations available on the non-digital system. Those additional stations include 45 music stations and a number of Discovery network channels.

Those who have cable-ready TVs do not have to obtain the digital system unless they want movie channels, along with other digital programming.

Mixon said for now HBO is the only movie channel that can still be seen on the non-digital system, but eventually HBO — like all other movie channels — will only be available on the digital system.

Mixon did say regardless of whether people purchase the digital system, they will see an improvement in the quality of the picture no matter where they live in the company's coverage area.

He added as another change, the KTLA morning news will no longer be available in the Imperial Valley. WB programming will replace the morning news.

Of the company's filing for bankruptcy protection, Mixon said that is an issue that must be addressed by the company's investor relations office.

Still, Mixon said he is not aware of any effect the bankruptcy will have on local service.

Officials with investors relations were unavailable for comment Thursday or this morning.

Adelphia Communications, based in Courdesport, Penn., filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York earlier this week.

>> Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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