Time Warner cares only about your money

Published 10:28 am Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Times are tough, so Time Warner Cable isn’t exactly sure when it will get around to getting high definition service to Hertford County.

It’s going to cost Time Warner money – about $750,000 – to make system upgrades necessary for delivery of high definition service in Herford County, Sammie Roberson, Time Warner Cable’s public affairs manager for Eastern North Carolina, told the Murfreesboro Town Council last week. A part of that expense is that all customers will have to have a new “box” that sits on top of your TV and decodes cable signals.

Roberson failed to provide the rest of the equation: Time Warner subscribers in the county mail checks every month for their cable service. He didn’t tell Murfreesboro’s governing body a total dollar figure for those checks. But if you assume there are 1,500 subscribers in the county and each pays an average of $100 a month for cable service, that’s $150,000 a month. That means Time Warner could cover its cost in about six months. That would seem like a pretty good return on investment to most folks.

Murfreesboro town council member Billy Theodorakis, who is not bashful about saying what he thinks, told Roberson that Time Warner’s foot dragging is costing both the company and the town money because many of Time Warner’s customers throughout the area are getting tired of waiting and are switching to satellite. Every time that happens, Tim Warner loses that customer’s monthly check and the town loses a portion of the fees Time Warner pays the town.

That same applies, of course, in Ahoskie… or wherever Time Warner is providing cable service.

In other words, Time Warner is indirectly – or maybe not so indirectly – putting financial pressure on towns which eventually will lead to either the levying of increased taxes on local residents to cover the deficit or to reduced city services simply because the money won’t be there to pay for those services.

There’s nothing Roberson can do. He’s not a decision maker. He’s paid to be the face of the big company. He said he’s pushing hard for the improved service Hertford County deserves, but the only thing that will really have an impact would be for all of us to switch to satellite. Or tell our elected representatives we’d like to see Time Warner replaced by a more customer oriented provider.

– The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald