By Tim Leeds/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
Havre residents will soon see construction vehicles in their neighborhoods as Bresnan Communications upgrades the local cable television system to allow tripling the number of stations available and offering other services including high-speed Internet access.
Bonnie Hansen , general manager of the Havre Bresnan office, said the company expects to see the upgrade completed by the end of the year. The upgrade will be completed in different neighborhoods at different times, with the service offered in areas as it becomes available, Hansen said.
The upgrade will increase the number of channels available from 41 to more than 150, she said, although the exact station lineup and pricing has yet to be approved by the company. Bresnan serves more than 300,000 subscribers in Montana, Colorado, Wyoming and Utah.
The pricing for the packages will vary, although the price for basic and expanded basic service won't change, Hansen said.
The price for high-speed Internet access will be $55.95 for Internet access only, and $49.95 for Internet access if the customer also has cable television service, she said. Initially, installation of Internet access will probably be free, although an installation charge will probably be added eventually, she said.
Other information services will also be available on a customized basis for customers, she said.
Bresnan expects minor interruption of service for customers as the work progresses. Hansen said the interruptions will occur as cables are switched over, but all service should be restored on a daily basis.
Three firms have been hired to install new fiber-optic and redesigned coaxial cables to allow the increased capability, including two-way transmission. Crews from Optical Communica-tions, NationwideUtility Services and CCI will be installing the new cables and supporting equipment.
Work is already under way on the upgrade, Hansen said.
A press release from Bresnan said the system will use the cable industry's most advanced design for services. As well as allowing the increased number of channels and two-way information transmission, it will allow "a broad range of new programming features into the future", the release said.
The fiber optics will provide transmission to nodes in 14 areas in the city, Hansen said. Coaxial cable will then transmit the signal to about 400 homes in each area.
In the press release, company president Bill Bresnan said the new system will provide a better picture and greater reliability as well as increasing the options available for television, Internet and other communications servcies.
Bresnan founded the company in 1984. It announced in 2002 it was negotiating with AT&T Broadband to purchase some of that company's cable offices, including its Havre office.
Comcast Corp. bought the AT&T operations later that year, and Bresnan purchased Comcast's cable systems in Montana, Colorado, Wyoming and Utah earlier this year.