Notice to HCCI Television Subscribers
December 28, 2018
A few weeks ago, with short notice and an unusually short time to execute, HCCI became the new owner of your local cable television system. It is with both a sense of optimism and commitment to our new subscribers and the communities you live in that we embarked on this opportunity. The ability of Brian Towers, Paul Schonewolf and George Williams, among others, to bring and provide reliable television service to small towns and villages when cable TV was in its infancy is a testament to their perseverance and historic commitment to you and these communities that Hamilton County Cable served for decades.
In recent years, the infrastructure has begun to show its age. With content costs rising rapidly and the costs of repairs or a complete technology overhaul knocking at the door, the prior leadership faced a dilemma and the likely outcome of having to turn down services. It is only with the support of county and municipal leadership and the commitment from elements of our state government in Albany that we were able to avoid an otherwise inevitable outcome.
Now that we have become the proverbial dog that has caught the car, we are evaluating the range of issues and opportunities facing the system. In the immediate term, we have been focused on catching up on deferred maintenance. We have been active in and around the neighborhoods and many of you have likely seen our technicians working to improve the infrastructure. Also, shortly after our purchase, we were met with the disappearance of Fox News from our satellite receivers, as Fox, unbeknownst to us, moved its programming to a new satellite not reachable with our existing satellite dishes. We have been working to provide a resolution to this problem and expect to acquire and install new dishes or provide an alternative solution within a few additional weeks.
In the short term, we must right size the cost and pricing structure of the business to ensure it is sustainable into the foreseeable future. For several years, package prices have been left largely unchanged, while programming costs have skyrocketed - with the costs of many networks increasing by more than 100% over the past three years. As a result, effective February 1, 2019, we will institute a five dollar ($5.00) increase in prices on all programming packages and additionally put in place a Broadcast Fee of $8.95 to partially offset the significant costs of the over-the-air broadcast networks.
In the intermediate term, we will not only be evaluating the various tiers of video service, but we will be analyzing additional opportunities to bring comprehensive communication and information services to you in support of health, education and active lifestyle interests that we know are important to you. Such an endeavor can only be successful with solid planning and execution, coupled with the support of all our customers. While we are anxious to explore these possibilities, our first aim is to stabilize the current system both technologically and financially.
Rest assured, we are working hard to provide a quality bundle of programming that meets our customers’ needs. Against a very difficult content cost backdrop, we are striving to provide value-oriented choices at fair prices for all our customers. We are hopeful that you will continue to support our efforts to serve you. We continue to be grateful for the patronage of all our customers.
** Changeover Period – Starting February 1, 2019, current subscribers will automatically be billed at the increased rate shown above. Any subscriber not under contract and wishing to change to a different tier or modify a service offering may do so at any time by calling our customer service team at 877.754.2266. Any modification will be prorated during the month in which the services are modified. Seasonal customers will be billed at the new rates starting with the May, 2019 bill.
↑ Taxes, fees and surcharges not included – Tier prices do not reflect additional local, state and federal taxes and fees, or surcharges, that will appear on your monthly invoice and impact the total cost of your video subscription, including a newly instituted Broadcast TV Surcharge in the amount of $8.95 (these fees help us offset fees we must pay TV stations to provide subscribers with their local broadcast signals), effective February 1, 2019. These monthly charges may vary depending on location and are subject to change; surcharges may increase at any time in the future, particularly due to increases in programming costs.
↑ Installation and equipment charges not included - Tier prices do not include installation and equipment charges. Each television set connected to the network requires a separate set-top box for an additional fee.
↑ Additional services subject to additional charges