Nov 19, 2012

City's TV provider options?

Ann Anys of Grand Haven asked, "Why does Grand Haven only have one cable TV option? It seems all we have is Charter, unless we go with a dish. You would think if the city had several options and more competition, then cable and Internet rates would go down. Isn’t what Charter has now considered a monopoly?"


City Manager Pat McGinnis said what Charter Communications has with the city is called a non-exclusive franchise.

"Other companies can and have achieved access to the homes in the city," he explained. "AT&T offers their U-Verse product to customers in the city. The state Metro Act and various federal laws regulate what the city can do to regulate the use of the rights of way."

Of course — as you pointed out, Ann — you can always subscribe to one of the satellite TV providers.

And if you really want to save some money, there's the old-fashioned over-the-air TV. Get a decent directional TV antenna (not one of those indoor things; they don't work very well unless you are actually in a big city with lots of strong signals) and point it toward Grand Rapids, and you'll pick up lots of channels with no monthly bill! Add a good amplifier or signal booster (Winegard makes good ones) and you'll have better luck.

Most digital broadcast stations now have 2-4 subchannels that offer neat networks you can't even get on cable or satellite.

The hardest channel to get is WWMT (3) from Kalamazoo, so you can either point your antenna that way (southeast from Grand Haven) or invest in an antenna rotor. You'll probably still get a good signal from the Grand Rapids stations.

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