Cable TV rates climbing again next month

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 6, 2002

[03/06/02]Rates for cable TV service in Vicksburg and Warren County will be going up for the second time in a year, starting in April.

The cost of tier service from Vicksburg Video is rising $2 per month, and the optional Cableguard service fee is rising to 75 from 64 cents. With the increase, customers receiving about 52 channels will pay $36.45 per month plus taxes and fees.

Those who order premium channels, HBO, Cinemax and Showtime, will also pay more. The price for those are also increasing about $2 per month.

Last May, prices for basic service, tier service and Cableguard, a home wiring insurance service, were increased $2.39.

The costs of digital cable packages, now available to most subscribers, are not changing, nor is the price of basic cable.

Jerry “Beau” Balch, general manager of Vicksburg Video, said the reason for the increase is improvements to the system.

“Even with the increase, we still have the lowest rates in a 100-mile radius for the channels we offer,” Balch said.

In Port Gibson, Bailey Cable TV offers 33 channels for $23.45 or 71 cents per channel per month. Cable TV in Rolling Fork has 26 channels for $24 per month, which is 92 cents per channel. The Vicksburg Video rate calculates to 70 cents per channel.

Over the past three years, the company has added digital image delivery and Internet connections as options. The cable company also provides access channels at no cost for the City of Vicksburg and the Vicksburg Warren School District. The city is using Channel 23 for public meetings and other programs. The channel for schools is not in use.

“We’ve added so much to our system and improved so much that we had to raise prices,” Balch said.

Vicksburg Video is owned by WEHCO Video in Little Rock, Ark. WEHCO operates 14 cable systems in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Mississippi.

The local cable company lost the Fox network for about four months when Jackson television station WDBD dropped Fox in October for Warner Brothers programming. The loss of the network meant local residents missed many Saints games, NASCAR events and the World Series.

A deal was signed with Fox to add the channel back to the lineup before Super Bowl XXXVI in February.

Vicksburg Video provides cable service to about 11,488 homes locally. Letters have been sent to those customers informing them of the increases.