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Spectrum rollout of digital upgrade requires TV convert box for many

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Cable television subscribers who use Spectrum were without service Wednesday if they had not upgraded their home equipment as part of the company’s changeover to an all-digital format.

Andrew Russell, director of communications/northeast region for Spectrum, said Thursday that now that the changeover is complete, customers will be required to have a digital converter box for each television in their home. Each receiver comes with a monthly fee.

“As of yesterday, customers in The County need a Spectrum digital receiver for each of their televisions, if they don’t already have one,” he said. “There was no outage in Presque Isle or Madawaska. We upgraded the network to all-digital, which means we removed all analog TV signals from our lineups and are delivering those channels exclusively in a digital format. If they haven’t already done so, customers must take action by acquiring a Spectrum digital receiver for each of their televisions.”

Moving to the all-digital format frees up capacity on Spectrum’s network to provide faster broadband speeds, more HD programming and TV content, and sets the stage for future innovations, he added.

Russell said an outage did however occur in the Houlton area Wednesday which was indirectly related to the changeover to the north. That issue was resolved later Wednesday afternoon with service restored to the customers.

According to the company’s press release, the change to an all-digital network will provide “even better picture quality, more content and even faster broadband speeds.”

“We’re committed to upgrading the entire Spectrum footprint to a two-way, interactive digital service, giving customers a best-in-class TV, internet and voice experience,” said Tom Rutledge, chairman and CEO of Charter Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: CHTR).

The all-digital upgrade began Wednesday, Sept. 5, in Aroostook County. Different communities that are part of the Spectrum coverage area will be upgraded each week throughout September and October.

Spectrum is directly notifying customers of their specific upgrade date and the need to acquire a Spectrum digital receiver for each of their TVs. Spectrum’s upgrade will include customers in Bangor, Bar Harbor, Belfast, Brewer, Bucksport, Calais, Caribou, Dexter, Dover-Foxcroft, Eastport, Ellsworth, Hampden, Lincoln, Lubec, Machias, Madawaska, Milo, Newport, Orono and Presque Isle, as well as customers in surrounding communities.

As part of the upgrade, customers will now have access to “On-Demand” movies and shows.

Spectrum also is holding extended office hours in its Madawaska and Presque Isle offices for customers to obtain the necessary equipment for their homes. The fees for the new receivers vary depending on the package level of the customer. Some will be able to get free receivers for one or more years.

The Madawaska office, located at 381 Main St., and the Presque Isle office, located at 67 Industrial St., will be open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. during the transition.

Customers can obtain digital receivers through direct shipment to their home by visiting spectrum.com/DigitalNow or by calling 1-844-278-3408.

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