RI - MediaOne Glitch; Faulty Software Blamed

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Glitch forces MediaOne to delay channel changes Source: The Providence Journal Publication date: 2000-08-10

* The changes were to occur Tuesday in North Attleboro, Taunton, Somerset, Swansea, Seekonk, and Walpole. * * *

SOMERSET - Cable television channel realignments for six area towns were canceled at midnight Monday when MediaOne discovered a technical glitch in the service of a town that underwent realignment last month.

The changes were to occur Tuesday in North Attleboro, Taunton, Somerset, Swansea, Seekonk, and Walpole. The towns were notified that morning of the delay.

MediaOne did not know yesterday when the changes might be rescheduled and said they were in the process of investigating what had gone wrong.

This problem completely caught us off guard, said MediaOne spokesman Jennifer Khoury. We've done this in 1.2 million households and haven't had a problem. Cable service and pricing will continue as normal until the realignment actually happens, she said.

Cable subscribers are being notified of the delay through messages that scroll across the bottom of the television screen and on public- access channels. MediaOne has also put messages on its answering system to inform those who call the company.

The problem originally surfaced in Norton, where cable services were knocked out completely, Khoury said. It was most likely due to faulty software in the device that sends cable signals from a regional transmitter to individual towns, she said.

While it was unclear whether Tuesday's scheduled realignment would have caused similar difficulties, the changes were canceled as a precautionary step. Engineers are working around the clock to make sure that it doesn't happen again, Khoury said.

According to Somerset Selectman William P. Meehan, town officials were notified Tuesday morning that the realignment would be delayed, and were told that the earliest the changes might happen would be Aug. 15.

Khoury stressed that MediaOne wants to make sure everything is running problem-free because the realignment alone is confusing for people. We don't need to couple the channel lineup change with any technical changes, she said.


-- (Dee360degree@aol.com), August 11, 2000

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