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Monday, March 29, 2004
Pennsylvania: Competition from Kutztown's municipal FTTH forces incumbent cable TV company to cut rates
"Tim Vanek pays $25.60 a month for basic cable television from Service Electric Cablevision. His friend, Walt Hess, who lives three blocks away, pays $36.05 a month for the same service. The difference: Vanek lives in Kutztown while Hess lives just outside the borough's border in Maxatawny Township. The South Laurel Street neighbors are caught in a price war between Kutztown's fiber-optic system and Service Electric's Kutztown-area cable franchise.
In August of 2002, Kutztown was the first place in Pennsylvania to build its own fiber-optic network for television, telephone and high-speed Internet service. Soon after, Service Electric of Allentown dropped its cable television rates by about 25 percent. But the lower prices are not for all of its cable subscribers. It's just for customers who live in Kutztown, like Vanek, and who might be tempted to subscribe to Kutztown's Hometown Utilicom television system instead of Service Electric. Borough residents also now pay much less for Internet service from Service Electric, and the modem rental fee has been waived. "