Mediacom will offer high-speed Internet; Service will be introduced after Vermillion’s cable televis

Mediacom will offer high-speed Internet; Service will be introduced after Vermillion's cable television system receives upgrade by David Lias Second in a series

Workers from Mediacom are busy now doing survey work in the city of Vermillion as it plans to complete an upgrade of its cable television system here by November.

The city's cable television franchise holder plans to build a new 750 megahertz cable television platform in the city.

That will allow Mediacom to offer more than just improved cable television reception. Vermillion customers should, in a few months, gain access to high- speed Internet service.

"One of the most significant products that we're launching that's really receiving a lot of customer approval is high- speed Internet service through cable modems," said Mark Trefry, Mediacom's director of marketing. "One of the biggest complaints that people have with dial-up Internet service is you always have to dial-up, and the system is slow."

Trefry said Mediacom launched highspeed Internet service in Yankton on Aug. 1. "It just gives people a lot more opportunity to get full motion and high technical graphics," he said, "where with a dial-up service, people don't take full advantage of all the things that are on the Internet because it takes too long to download."

"We will be able to put an ethernet card in your computer if you don't already have one, and it will give you access to our network," said Tom Bordwell, Mediacom's director of public relations from Prior Lake, MN. High-speed Internet customers, he added, will log on to a home page custom-built for the Vermillion community.

"It won't look like a national, one-stop do-all site. It will have local things on there," Bordwell said. "It will probably be connected to the local access channel so we can get some announcements, it will have local weather, and it potentially will have links to other public institutions."

The Internet page also will include local advertising, he said. "It really kind of has a nice community flavor to it rather than just a generic national quality," Bordwell said. "It's really nice and localized, and we think that's going to be a really good thing competitively for us as well."

Earlier this year, Mediacom added six new channels to its basic cable television package. That improvement represents a mere tip of the iceberg compared to what's in store.

Trefry said new, enhanced services will be launched as soon as the cable television technology receives an upgrade.

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"There is a product out there in the market place right now called digital cable that allows us to bring up to 18 channels where we once were able to only bring one," Trefry said. "And the technology allows us to provide a digital quality picture along with a digital quality sound."

Digital cable also will allow Mediacom to launch up to 100 additional television channels.

"Digital cable will include up to 45 channels of digital music," Trefry said. "It will also include up to 32 channels of pay-per-view service. We're really getting a lot of positive response from both of those products."

Digital cable will also include up to 42 premium movie channels. "Those channels are an assortment of channels from HBO, Showtime, Starz and Encore," Trefry said. "The industry has always called it flex services, but what it gives our customers is a lot more opportunities to watch movies when they want to.

"Mediacom is committed," he added, "to bringing our customers the latest and the best products that the telecommunications industry has to offer. If we don't, it will be very difficult to compete."

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