Comcast Digital Conversion Leaves Municipality in a Quandary

A SMALL TOWN IN INDIANA: The upcoming all-digital conversion of a Comcast franchise in Indiana is leaving a local government in the lurch. “Jake the IT guy” for a small municipality in the state wrote to Slashdot, the popular “news for nerds” site,asking for help.

“Comcast called me the other day and told me I had to have a digital-to-analog converter for each TV in the municipality, as Comcast is turning off analog cable in September,” he wrote. “I did a quick count, and we have 32 TVs across six buildings--22 being in the police and fire departments. Most of the TVs are hung on the walls. I told Comcast having a box for each TV was not acceptable and wanted a different solution. Comcast told me there was no other solution.”

Jake the IT guy asked Comcast about the power consumption necessary to run 32 converters. The folks he spoke with didn’t know. He was also told the municipality would have to pay $3 a month for each box, despite a franchise agreement that provides the city with free basic cable.

“I know there is a solution, as hospitals and hotels don’t have little boxes next their TVs,” Jake writes. “Unfortunately I haven’t found a specific answer to this problem so I am asking Slashdot.”

Other small towns may be running into similar issues with cable companies going all digital. Jake’s plea set off a lively discussion thread at Ask Slashdot.