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Consolidated Communications to discontinue cable TV service

From left, Jefferson Township supervisors Lois Rankin and John Cypher deliberate at the monthly board of supervisors meeting on Monday, Feb. 12. William Pitts/Butler Eagle
Some Butler County residents will be affected

Telecommunications provider Consolidated Communications has informed municipal governments in Butler County that it will stop providing cable television service, effective March 26.

An executive from the company said Consolidated wants to focus on being a “broadband-first” operation.

The loss of service means municipalities will lose out on thousands of dollars in cable franchise fees, and Consolidated customers in the county will lose their cable television when Consolidated officially pulls the plug.

Among the areas affected are Jefferson and Penn townships. Jefferson Township would have received between $6,800 and $7,200 in franchise fees from Consolidated this year.

To ease the transition, Consolidated is offering a discount for former cable TV customers to switch to DirecTV.

“One of the reasons for the timing of the letter was to give people as much notice as humanly possible before we made this change,” said Rob Koester, senior vice president of product management at Consolidated.

Allegheny Township, Westmoreland County, recently received a similar letter from the company.

“Customers should contact Consolidated Communications for any questions regarding this information,” reads a notice on Allegheny Township’s homepage. “Consolidated will still be providing voice and data service according to the letter received.”

“This change affects less than 5% of our overall broadband-capable population,” Koester said. “It’s a relatively small population, but this is something that we know people take very seriously.”

According to Koester, Consolidated also provides service to the city of Butler and Butler Township as well as most of Cranberry Township.

Consolidated’s exit from Jefferson Township leaves Armstrong as the only cable television provider. According to township manager Leo Rosenbauer, Armstrong already has a wider reach within the township.

In recent months, Armstrong has sent letters to municipalities in Butler County, including Middlesex and Penn townships, informing them the company intends to raise its rates for television service this year from $123.95 to $132.95 per month.

According to Koester, existing Consolidated cable TV customers can hold on to their cable boxes or recycle them.

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