AURELIA - Aurelia residents, who have had their cable television services provided through People's Telephone/NU-Telecom for more than 20 years, will soon be able to receive state-of-the-art digital television service.
NU-Telecom, which owns and operates the telephone, television and internet services in Aurelia, held informational meetings at the Aurelia Community Center on Thursday evening, at which they outlined the services they will be providing in the coming years, and also answered questions and concerns from audience members. Questions and concerns about things that matter to the average consumer, rather than all that technical stuff.
Aurelia native Darrin Meendering, who is now the Customer Support Supervisor for NU-Telecom, presented Thursday's program. Meendering told those attending that their television will be provided through the telephone lines in the near future, and that once all houses which sign up for one of the digital "packages" of service are hooked up, analog broadcasts will come to an end in Aurelia.
The new digital service basic package rate starts at $17.95 per month.
The basic digital plan being offered by NU-Telecom has 11 channels, including six Sioux City stations (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, IPTV and the CW)and a public access (local announcements) channel, as well as TBS, WGN, C-Span and C-Span2
The second tier package, called NU- Entertainment, includes those 11 channels plus an additional 33 channels.
A package of additional variety channels can be added to any plan for an additional monthly fee, as can "premium" packages for eight Cinemax, six HBO, seven Showtime, or nine Starz channels (or certain combinations of these).
Since cable TV service was first offered two decades ago, Aurelia cable TV subscribers have had a basic plan of channels, with the option of adding one HBO and/or one Cinemax channel for an additional monthly fee. Additional channels have been added to the basic plan, one or two at a time, over the years, but the cost to subscribers has remained low and relatively unchanged.
A subscription to the new basic digital plan will cost subscribers a bit less than they currently pay for the basic cable plan, but they will also have fewer channels than they have had on the basic cable TV plan. Subscribing to the second tier package will give subscribers all of the basic channels as well as most of the channels they now receive on their basic cable plan. In addition, they would have some new channels - all for a slightly higher monthly fee than they have been paying. A few of the current channels are not in the second tier package, but are available in the optional add-on "variety" package.
NU-Telecom realizes that no one enjoys paying a higher cost, but they also point out repectfully that the cost which Aurelia subscribers have been paying for many years is substantially lower than the cost which residents in most communities have been paying.
In addition, said Meendering, the digital picture and sound quality subscribers will be receiving will be sharper and more reliable than the analog signal they have been receiving, and, unlike satellite TV, the signal will not be affected by certain adverse weather conditions.
The start-up date for services will be soon, as crews begin to install the new equipment (including a box for each TV set) at the home of each customer who has signed up for the new service. The switch-over will not be overnight, as the entire town will be involved. Analog (cable) service will not be discontinued, however, until all of the residential digital installation is completed,
Meendering said that the current plan is to hook up all of the second tier subscribers first , followed by the first tier ("Basic") subscribers.
All Aurelia cable subscribers, especially those who who were unable to attend the meetings, are encouraged to call the NU-Telecom office in Aurelia (434-5989) if they have questions or concerns.
NU-Telecom deeply regrets that the flyers which were mailed to customers informing them of the change were not delivered in a timely manner by the postal service.
If there are other television channels which subscribers would like to see NU-Telecom offer, they should let the office know. If NU-Telecom finds that there is substantial subscriber interest in some channels which are not currently being offered, they will certainly look into the feasibility of adding some or all of those channels to the current line-up.
NU-Telecom is headquartered in New Ulm, Minnesota. Tom Mier is the local office manager in Aurelia.