The Herald, Sharon, PA Published Sunday, Feb. 11, 2001
outlook 2001


Adelphia launching TV, Internet upgrade

By Michael Roknick
Herald Business Editor

Adelphia is channeling its attention on new products.

The cable provider is readying to roll out an upgrade on the TV side and a new service for local Internet users.

In the upcoming months the company will offer a 55-channel package to its cable subscribers -- up from its current maximum of 37 regular and three feature channels.

"What we’re looking at is providing channels that people can receive without a converter box," said Steve Havertine, local manager for Adelphia.

New channels in the offing are Fox Sports Ohio, TV Land, Cartoon Network and Comedy Central.

Subscribers will also see a change in the type of package offered. Currently Adelphia offers a deal whereby in its basic package 32 channels are offered, with 37 in its top tier. In the new deal the basic package will offer 20 to 25 channels with the top tier providing the rest of the channels.

By going with fewer channels in the basic package the cable provider can lower the cost to low-income homes, Havertine said.

Also, the cable will offer a new service whereby subscribers can get pay-for-view channels where they can see movies or events for a fee.

Other new services on the TV side include an initial slate of 20 or so digital TV channels and 30 music channels. Digital channels gives a crisper, cleaner view than conventional analog. A box receiver, similar to one used for satellite set-ups, will be needed to get digital TV. "The cable service you see in the valley today won’t bear any resemblance to the new cable service," Havertine promised. A completely new service that is being introduced by Adelphia this year is Internet service called Power Link.

This multimillion-dollar project is being rolled out gradually because new cables have to be installed on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis.

In conjunction with its Adelphia Business Solutions unit, regular and high-speed Internet service will be offered through fiber optic cables.

Fiber optic technology had its first commercial application in the telecommunication industry in 1977. Since then, it has grown to become the industry standard for land transmission of all telecommunication information, including telephones, computers, cable television, and industrial instrumentation.

By far, fiber optic’s greatest application to date has been within the telephone industry. Telephone companies began replacing their old copper wire systems with optical fiber lines early on in the technology’s history.

Now, fiber optics comprise the backbone of all competitive phone companies’ architectures, as well as provide the long distance connection between city phone systems.

Unlike the old telecommunication technology, which used electronic pulses to transmit information down copper wire lines, fiber optic networks use light waves to carry information over fiber lines. Each fiber line consists of a bundle of very thin tubes of either glass or plastic, called optical fibers.

Each fiber is actually thinner than a human hair and acts as a one-way channel for transmitting information; therefore, two optical fibers are needed to make two-way communication possible.

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