Cable vs. the Dish

By: Justin Ware
By: Justin Ware

Bill Priepke changed from Charter Communications' cable service to a satellite last year, despite the fact that he couldn't pick up the local channels with his dish.

"Now I've heard that that's gonna change and I'm going to get local channels, so now I'm Direct TV for a long time," said Bill Priepke, converted from cable to the dish.

By the end of the summer, Direct TV officials say their service will carry local channels. Their satellite competitor, dish network, already has those stations available, and Dish Network is doing it at a cost that's below what the hard-line cable service, Charter Communications, is charging its customers.

"If you compare apples to apples we're going to be able to save the customer $10-15 per month," said Ryan Burke, DISH Network.

Charter charges customers in Wausau $45.99 for their service that's comparable to the service that dish now provides for $29.99.

A Charter spokesperson says the cable company does not expect to reduce their rates to meet dish's prices, because they feel they still offer a better value, but Charter did reduce its rates to match a competitor in the Wisconsin Rapids area.

Charter charges $36.99, nearly $10 less for its expanded basic service in rapids than it does in Wausau to compete with WCTC's price of $39.99.

"Depending on the competition and the pricing that they're offering, we try to offer comparable, if not less to save our customers," said Jessie Hlad, Charter Communications.

Charter says they do have advantages over satellite service in the Wausau area, the most significant being local customer service reps and technicians. The question is whether or not that will be enough to keep their customers from going to the dish.

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