Saturday, February 17, 2001
Oak Creek People in Oak Creek, Phippsburg and Stagecoach will soon be without cable television.
Customers of Galaxy Cablevision in those south Routt communities have 54 days and counting until the company turns off the cable.
To replace the service, Galaxy appears to be attempting to sell its subscribers to Pegasus Satellite Television, and picking up the bill for the satellite and installation.
However, the rates that Pegasus offers, without going through Galaxy, is about $3 cheaper a month, according to Pegasus' Web site.
Basic cable right now costs $23.50 for about 27 channels.
Oak Creek Mayor Deb Van Gundy said people should know they have some time to decide what they want to do and that they don't have to go through Galaxy.
"The town has not sanctioned this company," Van Gundy said.
The town and Galaxy customers found out about the change this week from a letter stating that Galaxy is "replacing traditional cable systems in communities like yours." Then, telemarketers were reportedly calling some consumers offering the satellite deal.
Van Gundy said the town is exploring different options that people can choose from to make sure they are getting the best offer, mainly because the deal with Galaxy and Pegasus raised a few eyebrows.
Number one, a letter sent to customer doesn't inform people of the how long they have to make their decision. Instead, it tells of the new satellite service it is offering to replace the cable and how to sign up for it.
Then, the base services Galaxy says it's offering is $24.98 a month for 45 channels, but this does not include Denver channels. To get those stations, customers will have to pay $6 more.
According to Pegasus' Web site, the base service costs $21.98, and $6 more for the local stations. Neither rate was included in the letter.
Van Gundy said she was concerned about some contract issue. The letter told customers not to worry about long-term contracts and Galaxy also placed a local advertisement stating there are no one-year contracts. But if a person signs up, but then decides they don't want the service after six month, they will be charged a $250 fine, according to the contract.
That didn't set will with the town, Van Gundy said.
Officials from Galaxy and Pegasus weren't available for comment Friday.
Bottom line, Van Gundy said, is that people can find their own satellite subscriber and don't have to feel that they have to go through Galaxy, no matter what the telemarketers say.
Galaxy, whose corporate office is in Missouri, bought the cable lines in the south Routt communities from Total Local Communication (TLC) on Dec. 20.
TLC owned the cable lines since 1996 and had been shopping around for buyers for the system for more than a year.
Galaxy signed a franchise agreement with Oak Creek when it bought the cable system, because the lines in Oak Creek are on town property.
Van Gundy said the town will reserve the right to make Galaxy take the lines off the town property, once the the cable is turned off.
"We want to give people the full 60 days so they can have a choice," Van Gundy said.
TLC did not have a good track record for service in South Routt.
Holly Rehdar, merger and acquisitions manager for Galaxy, has said Galaxy owns numerous systems in rural areas in more than 16 states and that the company is used to solving problems in rural areas.
To reach Doug Crowl call 871-4206 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.