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Charter Ready to Introduce HD and Internet Access on Berkshire Cable Systems… in 2016

lanesboroughIt is hard to imagine there are still cable systems serving customers with nothing more than a slim lineup of standard definition cable television channels in 2016, but not if you live in three Berkshire towns over the New York-Massachusetts border where Charter Communications will finally introduce HD television and internet service starting next week.

Lanesborough, West Stockbridge, and Hinsdale all suffer from the pervasive lack of broadband common across western Massachusetts. But these communities, along with Charter’s cable system in nearby Chatham, N.Y., are benefiting from regulator-mandated upgrades as a condition of approving Charter’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable. Charter Communications has almost no presence in New York, except for 14,000 customers in Plattsburgh and the seriously antiquated system in Chatham that isn’t too far from the dilapidated systems serving the Berkshires on the Massachusetts side of the border. Like in Chatham, customers in the Berkshires pay for service similar to what cable customers received in the 1980s – no video on demand, no internet access, and a capacity-strained system that lacks enough bandwidth to offer HD channels.

The upgrades will cost about $6,000 per customer — numbering 2,500 in Chatham and another 800 in the three towns in Massachusetts. Charter is paying the bill. Charter’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable will make things easier for the cable operator, because it will extend fiber connections between the Charter systems and existing Time Warner Cable infrastructure nearby.

In Massachusetts, Charter’s upgrades require customers to install new set-top boxes in time for the switchover on Aug. 2. A week later, on Aug. 9, internet access will be available at the two speeds Charter traditionally offers — 60 and 100Mbps.

Most customers care a lot less about improved cable television and are more concerned about getting broadband. Western Massachusetts’ broadband problems have affected property values and kept businesses from relocating or expanding in the area. Few areas in the northeast have languished with inadequate internet access more than Massachusetts communities west of Springfield.

The large consortium of 44 communities working under WiredWest have spent years working towards community-owned fiber to the home service in the western half of the state, but the project ran into political interference at the state government level. Lanesborough had been part of the WiredWest collaborative effort, reports iBerkshires. With Charter’s upgrade, the community may decide to drop out of the project, even though it would likely deliver superior broadband service over what Charter will offer.

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  • Michael Ware: I know this is a old comment I don't even know what you're talking about because when I had charter I didn't pay a lot of money and I never had any is...
  • Jean Grubbs: They don't know how to fix the problem know more...
  • kim smith: they r ridiculous,shut of service with a bill of 112.00 and they charged me 450.00 ,im not paying it,i didnt re sign a contract for 2 years and that's...
  • David L Walls: I just changed to Suddenlink, TV, Internet and phone,, simply because of cost AND the fact Frontier intends to make a Customer sign a four year contra...
  • RETIRED SEI: Join the discussion...I did some research on this. I retired 3 months ago. I just submitted paper work for lump sum for Jan 2020. If Frontier goes BK ...
  • Eric Hartman: Enjoy your 3 months increase from me because come spring im getting rid of it....
  • Barry: The only thing that surprises me about this is that it didn't happen sooner. The service is crappy at best and, their customer service is abysmal....
  • katherine zeigler: Today kids have to have internet for everything. I recently received a bill that included over $90 worth of extra charges. It was overages for going o...
  • J. Becker: That's actually not that "costly" if its reliable internet access. My only reasonable option for internet service is (recently very unreliable) Spectr...
  • NJ orlando: Here is the current lawsuit against them it is a class action lawsuit https://topclassactions.com/lawsuit-settlements/consumer-products/internet-speed...
  • NJ orlando: That is because when you bring in a bad modem or router they clean it up do a basic test (maybe) and pack it back up and give it to the next sucker. I...
  • Mary: Well I can understand why, the service here is awful. But they are going to get their money. And when you call ,can't get no one that speaks English c...

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