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Another Perspective

September 11, 1993

My wife and I received the letter from Ventura County Cablevision detailing the upcoming changes.

As aptly pointed out in your Sept. 1 article, the great majority of us--"the folks in the middle"--will at best save a few pennies. A review of our new charge shows we will be paying an additional $1.74 per month, and for what?

Ventura County Cablevision President David T. LaRue says that we will be getting an additional 14 channels. However, he goes on to say that to provide these additional channels they need to install additional equipment. But this has not been accomplished, and he cannot give a date when it will happen. It sure did not stop them from increasing my rate on Sept. 1, however. So no benefit so far. I would suspect that the vast majority of us could quite easily live without these "exciting new channels." I know I would gladly give them up as well as a few others for a reduction in my monthly service charge.

Mr. LaRue goes on to say that the new Cable Act requires them to obtain permission from certain broadcast television stations in order to continue carrying them on their system. To date they have yet to obtain that permission from two majors (KCBS and KNBC) and two independents (KTLA and KTTV). He assures us that they "are negotiating in good faith" and hope to accomplish this by the "drop dead" date of Oct. 5. However, should this not be accomplished by Oct. 5, they will be forced to discontinue broadcasting these four stations. While assuring us of their efforts, he makes no reference to offering VCC's customers any reduced rate during any time they may be "forced" to eliminate these stations. Again, no benefit and perhaps a real inconvenience.

Since the city of Thousand Oaks has elected to apply for the authority to regulate basic rates as mandated by the Cable Act, my question to them is: When? After the cows are out of the barn? Obviously not before, since my new charges went into effect on Sept. 1 and they went up.

LONNIE K. UMBENHOWER

Thousand Oaks

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