New cable company coming to Whistler 

The owners of a new cable company coming to Whistler soon say the service will benefit customers.

"We would certainly like to be able to offer better value," said Todd Carter, one of the owners of Channel One Communications Corp.

"You know competition is going to translate into better value for the customer. There is just no question."

Channel One got the go ahead from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission this month to start up their service in Whistler.

Most see this as the continuation of the CRTC’s plan to break up local cable monopolies.

The monopolies exist generally because the cost of setting up the service is very high and companies won’t make enough return if there is tough competition.

Ron Saperstein general manager of Whistler Cable said he was disappointed by the CRTC’s decision.

"We don’t understand this decision in such a small market," he said.

"We don’t think it is going to help the customer because it is such a small market. We feel there will be confusion in the market place."

Saperstein said Whistler Cable, which has been in operation here since 1979, is planning to expand its service to Pemberton this year.

He believes that the choices and services his company offers will keep Whistler Cable in great shape.

"We feel we have superior services to any cable company," he said.

"We will let our record speak for itself."

As well as moving into Pemberton, Whistler Cable plans to upgrade Internet service in the next few weeks to double its speed.

And the company is working on a project to offer telephone service.

"So there will be one bill for everything," said Saperstein, whose family has run Whistler Cable since its inception.

"And it would offer highly discounted long-distance and calls to Vancouver would probably be free."

But Carter, who has lived here full-time since last summer, believes it’s time for competition in Whistler.

He hopes Channel One will be up and running in Whistler by early this fall.

Channel One also operates the cable system in Pemberton after acquiring Coast Mountain Communications Inc. in May of 2002.

Carter said residents in that town enjoy cheaper basic cable rates than people in Whistler or Vancouver.

And high-speed cable in Pemberton is offered at one of the cheapest rates in B.C.

He wants to offer Whistler residents and commercial operations the same deals.

"The residents of Pemberton have the best value in Internet in B.C. and we will bring that philosophy to Whistler as well," said Carter.

"If we are allowed to make it available we will make it available."

Channel One is currently canvassing stakeholders in Whistler to find out what kind of service people want.

"We want an opportunity to sit down with people and explain the sort of video and data services that we can provide," said Carter.

"Because we are starting from scratch we have a unique opportunity to sort-of customize and optimize our service offerings.

"We want to get a sense of what people want and to let people know that they now have a choice in the market."

Carter said the service also plans to put community television in place.

He would like to try and get local sporting events on television and local league games in hockey and baseball, for example.

The community channel would also be a great place to showcase local artists and inform people about entertainment, said Carter.

"We have got an open mind," he said.

"We have the facilities and the band width and the capacity to get this sort of programming on the air so it will really come down to people’s imagination."

Carter won’t talk about how much the service will cost to provide except to say it will be an expensive investment.

"We probably don’t want to talk about dollars at this point," he said.

Fibre optic cable will be laid by Channel One but it will use pre-existing conduits.

The company will also partner with Vancouver-based FatPort to provide wireless Internet access.


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