Major Comcast upgrade
Comcast is starting to replace the outdated cable system serving Grass Valley, Nevada City, Penn Valley and Lake Wildwood with a state-of-the-art fiber optics system.
When the work is finished in late fall, Comcast’s 10,000 local customers will have more channels on expanded basic service, more digital programming, access to high-definition television, and the opportunity for high-speed cable Internet service.
On the horizon are video-on-demand and digital video recording, providing “customers entertainment on their terms,” said Susan Gonzales, senior director of communications for Comcast in Sacramento.
All of this will cost subscribers more money – another $3.95 a month when the work is completed and $42.95 a month for high speed Internet when it’s bundled with the basic cable service.
Comcast crews and contractors are now working in Nevada City to replace the current one-way cable with a two-way fiber optic system running from the street to the home of each subscriber. Comcast will be performing the work on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis, and residents will be alerted by door hangers, automated voice mail and newspaper ads.
The work will entail some disruption in service, but Gonzales said Comcast “is committed to restoring service by 5 p.m. every day.” A hotline has been established for customers who experience service problems during the work.
When Comcast completes replacement of its 238 miles of existing cable, expanded basic service will increase from 40 channels to more than 60, Gonzales said.
Digital programming will be expanded, and high-definition reception will be available to subscribers with HD television sets and receivers. Comcast currently broadcasts ABC, NBC, HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, ESPN, the Discovery Channel and several pay-per-view services in high definition.
Comcast will also offer high-speed Internet service that it says has a maximum download speed of 3.0 Mbps, twice the speed of DSL service.
After the new services are activated, Comcast will add video-on-demand and digital video recording.
Gonzales described video-on-demand as a public library of programs, 80 percent of them free. “You could watch the 6 p.m. news at 11:20 at night,” she said. “You can hit the pause button if you’re interrupted.”
Digital video recording is a private library “where you determine what you would like to record and watch,” Gonzales said. Converter boxes will be upgraded to provide the recording and high definition capabilities.
Comcast cable customers in Grass Valley, Nevada City, Penn Valley and Lake Wildwood who experience service problems during the system upgrade should call 1-800-697-5464.
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