Oak Creek About 400 residents in Oak Creek, Stagecoach and Phippsburg have a new cable company to deal with, and a current user of the company said to expect problems.
On Dec. 20, Galaxy Cable Vision, whose corporate office is in Missouri, bought the cable lines in the south Routt communities from Total Local Communication.
TLC had owned the cable lines since 1996 and had been shopping around for buyers for the system for more than a year.
According to a TLC fact sheet, the cable television system has 401 subscriptions, with about 56 in Phippsburg, 257 in Oak Creek and 88 in Stagecoach.
Service for the cable lines has always been an issue in south Routt. In October 1999, Rich Wilson, CEO of TLC, said it is difficult to find qualified cable technicians in small mountain areas to service the lines.
Holly Rehdar, merger and acquisitions manager for Galaxy, said the company will try to retain the same technician in south Routt as TLC had and hopes to provide better service.
When Galaxy buys cable lines, its engineering department travels to the system, assesses any problems it has and fixes the equipment, Rehdar said.
After that, the company hopes its customers will see it as business as usual, while service response would improve.
"The reality is that we only own rural systems," Rehdar said.
She explained that since Galaxy owns numerous systems in rural areas in more than 16 states, the company is used to solving problems in rural areas.
Gary Cinnamon, town administrator in Lyons, Colo., on the Front Range, said solving problems isn't Galaxy's strong suit. He said that for the three years he estimated Galaxy has owned Lyons' cable service, the town has struggled with the company.
"They're a mess," Cinnamon said. "We really struggle with them. They are the only show in town and we can't get a larger company to come in here."
He estimated that about 200 people have gone off the system since Galaxy bought out Vantage Cable, which previously owned the system.
"Vantage wasn't good, but they were much better than Galaxy," Cinnamon said.
Because the company is based in Missouri and doesn't have an office in Lyons, Cinnamon claimed it takes weeks to get someone to service lines when the reception is bad.
Lyons' system is old and needs replacing, which is why there are so many problems with it, Cinnamon said. However, he said he doesn't think Galaxy will ever replace the lines.
Rehdar, and other Galaxy representatives, were unavailable at press time to respond to Cinnamon's concerns.