Charter subscribers in West Richland and Benton City will have services available similar to those offered in Richland, Kennewick and Pasco starting today.
Changes include adding 200 channels to Charter’s lineup, including 50 in high definition, in the two cities. Digital video recorders, On-Demand service, increased internet speed, phone service and digital music channels also now are available.
Earlier this year Charter acquired SuddenLink’s West Richland and Benton City cable franchise. It was part of an asset swap between the two companies in which Charter gave up control of a similar operation in Iowa, La.
“We’re pleased that the completion of our multi-million dollar network in these two communities have made these enhancements possible,” said Frank Antonovich, general manager of Charter’s Northwest operations, in a statement. A major upgrade of equipment was required.
Charter is paying 2 percent of its annual gross subscriber revenue to West Richland as a continuation of the SuddenLink franchise agreement. The agreement will be renegotiated next June. The city received $9,736 in 2008 and $8,629 in 2009.
SuddenLink had about 850 West Richland subscribers, and Charter believed it made sense to expand in areas next to those it already served.
Charter also continues under the existing franchise agreement with Benton City pending renegotiation. It requires Charter to pay 3 percent of annual gross subscriber revenues to the city. The city received $1,856 in 2008 and $1,630 in 2009 and has received $833 so far this year, said city clerk Stephanie Haug.
The new OnDemand service gives subscribers access to more than 600 hours of programming, much of which is free and in high definition, according to Charter. The DVRs, allow customers to control TV times and preferences by automatically recording programs.
* Annette Cary: 509-582-1533; email@example.com.