August 16, 2007

New Company To Purchase Memphis Cable TV Franchise

A change in ownership of a local cable television franchise means the provider for Memphis will be downsizing.

Officials with Superior Cable stressed that the available programming will not be shrinking, just the size of the company providing the service.

Principal owner Rob Talbot said the downsizing will be a good thing for local customers.

“You are essentially going from a large company that served 160 cable systems across the Midwest, to a local company that will be serving 18 systems across northern Missouri and southern Iowa,” he said.

Talbot met with Memphis city officials earlier this month to announce his company, Superior Cable, was in the process of purchasing the local cable system along with 17 other similar sized systems on both sides of the Missouri/Iowa state line.

Talbot, who calls Centerville, IA, home, stated the new company will maintain its main office in Moulton, IA. The company plans to utilize three service technicians.

“We believe this will be one of our strengths,” Talbot said. The industry standard is one technician per 1,000 customers. We have about 2,000 subscribers, so one could say we are overstaffed in this department but we know that good service is critical.”

The City of Memphis agreed to transfer the existing franchise agreement with Longview Communication to Superior Cable, pending the completion of the sale of the system by the former provider to the newly formed company.

Talbot addressed service concerns with the existing system, noting plans would “focus on getting back to local.”

He noted that the former provider had closed its own call center and had contracted the service, meaning operators that answered service calls were not employees of the cable company.

Talbot added that programming was not scheduled to be changed because of the transfer of ownership. Customers would continue to receive the same 51-channel package currently being offered.

He said the company will continue to review possible upgrades to the offerings, but noted that adding channels costs money. Talbot stated that more than 60 percent of the monthly cable bill goes to pay for the programming, leaving a shrinking piece of the pie to pay for service and overhead.

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