Video continues to be an important part of EPB’s fiber optics division. Since the service began in 2009, many changes have taken place relating to the content offered to customers, including choices and costs. A question that EPB is most asked is to be able to select and pay for only what a customer watches, said David Wade, president and CEO of EPB, at a board meeting Friday morning. Unfortunately, EPB must buy content in bundles so channels cannot be chosen individually, he said, but a new option that will allow a customer to customize their choices of video is being rolled out.
In the attempt to manage costs, EPB has dropped a few low-use channels, and the company is thankful that some content providers have been reasonable in negotiation new rates this year. However, several of the major networks are demanding a huge increase beginning in January and EPB will have no choice but to pass the increases to subscribers, said Mr. Wade.
To help customers get through the winter without the additional burden, he said, the increase will not be passed on until March 2021. He said that EPB continues to be transparent relating to costs and will not hide the increases under miscellaneous headings. Customers will be given ample notification when rates must be changed.
With the proliferation of steaming services in addition to EPB Fi TV the choices and options for customers can be overwhelming. EPB is launching a new service to provide guidance for finding the best video content options for an individual user, either by phone or internet. Questions will be asked about preferences for what a customer watches and a recommendation that fits the selections will be made. The recommendation could be EPB Fi TV or one or more streaming services or a combination of both. The suggestion that is made is not intended to sell our product, but to find what is best for you, said Mr. Wade. This will be a way to pay less in order to get channels that people want, he told the board. Bundles of Internet and TV services will continue to be offered. Some concerns about streaming, is if a person will run out of data, but he said that EPB has no caps on content so that should be no problem.
To take advantage of this new service customers should go to either EPB.com/my bundle, or call customer service at (423) 648-1372. A short video is being developed to help educate customers about the new service and in the future, there may be a physical location where they can come to learn about it.
Other announcements to the EPB board of directors were that the EdConnect program continues to grow. There now are10,000 students and 6,000 homes connected to the Internet at no charge. Mr. Wade said it is filling a need in the community that is especially needed as the schools change to a hybrid schedule.
Another program for the public will be continuing the tradition of having Christmas windows. They will open next Wednesday at 5 p.m. People are encouraged to see the windows in person separately and safely. This year they also can be viewed virtually at EPB.com/holiday2020.