Cable reception problems continue

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— Technicians for AT&T Broadband's cable service in Steamboat Springs have been bedeviled by a problem that is causing poor reception for some local customers.

For the past four weeks, AT&T Broadband customers in the Tamarack-Fish Creek Falls area have been experiencing flashing screens. The company has spent so much time trying to solve the problem that it apologized to customers in a newspaper advertisement asking customers to "bear with us as we work to resolve this problem."

"It has been difficult running it down because it's an intermittent problem," said Greg Smith, AT&T technical manager.

"When the temperature gets hot in the day, the picture starts going off and on. Lightning has also struck in the area."

Smith is guessing that a piece of equipment sometimes overheats and causes the flashing pictures.

"It doesn't last long enough or stay off long enough to get a handle on what piece of equipment gets heated up or took a lightning hit," he said.

Smith said AT&T would be better off if the cable service would just "stay off" during one of these outings instead of lasting for just a few minutes.

"If it would stay off, we could find it in a short period of time," Smith said.

Last Thursday was the last time the problem showed up, but Smith isn't optimistic.

"We've replaced everything in this one area," Smith said. "We've been replacing taps, amplifiers and line extenders because we thought we had the problem located in the one area, but I don't feel real confident I got the problem fixed."

The Tamarack area has seen considerable construction in the past few years and Smith believes it could be a strain on the cable power in the area.

Although the area has a relatively new power supply, AT&T wants to put in an additional power supply in hopes of fixing the problem permanently while boosting cable capacity.

Smith isn't sure how long that process would take. AT&T has to work with the power company and acquire several permits before such work can begin.

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