Public access channels that broadcast Lexington government and education meetings will be moved at the end of the month to Spectrum channels in the 100s, cable officials have told city and school officials.
The city of Lexington has asked the cable company to delay the switch but also wants $20,000 that the cable company agreed to give the city if it ever moved its longstanding public access channel, called GTV3.
Effective July 25, Fayette County Public Schools’ television programming will be moved from channel 13 to channel 197 in Spectrum’s cable service. Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government’s channel will move from channel 3 to channel 185. The University of Kentucky will change from channel 16 to channel 184, according to a letter that Spectrum sent customers.
A spokesman for the cable company didn’t immediately comment.
Fayette County Public Schools has broadcast locally on cable channel 13 since 1981. The city’s GTV3 has been on channel 3 since 1980.
The change is a technology upgrade “to protect TV content from unauthorized viewing, which will enable Spectrum to better maintain the integrity of its network and offer more enhanced features,” according to a letter from Spectrum to its customers.
The city has said that Charter, which does business as Spectrum in Fayette County, agreed to give the merged government $20,000 if it ever moved GTV3. That payment was part of a settlement agreement the city signed with the cable company at the time of the cable company’s 2014 franchise agreement.
That settlement agreement said the $20,000 would go toward rebranding GTV3.
In a July 3 letter, chief administrative officer Sally Hamilton also asked the cable company to delay the July 25 switch, saying the city needs more time to inform the public that government meetings and other news would be moved to channel 185.
City spokeswoman Susan Straub said, “We are confident that we will get the $20,000. Spectrum representatives have said they are working on it.”
Straub said they haven’t received any indication on whether Spectrum will honor the city’s request to delay the move to the higher-numbered channels.
Lexington’s top school official said he hoped long-time viewers will still watch the school’s programming on its new channel.
“We hope everyone will quickly adjust to the cable channel change, and want to remind our entire community that we also have a YouTube channel and live-stream FCPS-ETV on our FCPS.net website where we also provide videos on demand,” schools Superintendent Manny Caulk said.
The July 3 letter is just the latest in a series of letters and meetings between the city and Charter Communications after city officials reported a dramatic increase in the number of complaints about poor customer service.
In a letter dated June 14, the city demanded that Spectrum and Charter participate in a performance evaluation session that the public would be allowed to attend. The 2014 cable franchise agreement and federal communications law gives the city very limited authority over the cable company. A provision in the cable franchise agreement allows the city to hold a public performance session.
Hamilton is expected to recommend to the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council during a Tuesday council work session that the city schedule the performance evaluation for late August, according to documents included in the work session packet.