Telesat Cablevision Inc., Citrus County's second-largest cable television provider, has raised its rate for basic service to $11.95. The $2 increase was necessary to pay for the additional channels Telesat has added and to offset inflation, said Joe Green, district manager for Citrus County.
"We've had the same rates since we came to town two and a half years ago," Green said. "What we're trying to do at this point is catch up with inflation."
Prices for premium channels also have increased $1 per month.
Telesat's main competitor in the county, Cablevision of Central Florida Inc., has no plans to increase its $9.95 rate for basic service, said local operations director Jack Luciani.
The war for county cable subscribers has been fierce since Telesat was granted a franchise to compete in 1987. The initial result was the lowering of rates to $9.95 and the addition of special offers by both companies.
Green said that despite the recent increase, the prices Telesat is offering in Citrus County still are lower than in nearby counties. He noted that Telesat's new $11.95 price for 52 channels is well below, for example, the rate charged by Cablevision in Hernando County.
Cablevision's rates in Hernando County went up to $15.85 for 37 channels on Feb. 1, Luciani said. Cablevision has increased rates about $2 in other counties. He declined to say whether the competition with Telesat prevented a rate increase in Citrus County.
"We haven't addressed Citrus County at the present time," he said.
Cablevision is upgrading its system in Citrus County to increase the number of channels to 41, Luciani said.
Telesat is continuing to offer remote control devices at no charge and the first month of service free, Green said.
Cablevision charges $3 a month for remote controls in Citrus County and $3.50 in Hernando County, Luciani said.
G.L. Cable Co., which serves about 1,500 homes in the Citrus Hills area, also has raised its price to $11.95, said administration manager Allen Green. The increase, like Telesat's, stemmed from adding channels and steadily rising costs, he said. G.L. Cable offers basic service of 50 channels, he said.
Telesat serves about 7,000 customers in Citrus County, and Cablevision has about 20,000 subscribers.
Telesat workers are wiring portions of downtown Inverness. Green, Telesat's district manager, said he hopes to work out an agreement with the county for live telecasts of the County Commission meetings.
"We believe that in Citrus County there's a tremendous amount of interest in the county government," he said.