Local Cable TV Company Disappeared In A Flash, Louisiana Towns Say

Dec 07, 2023


 

By Ted Hearn, Editor of Policyband 

Washington, D.C., Dec. 7, 2023 – A cable TV company serving several small towns in Mississippi and Louisiana has abruptly shut down service in recent days and failed to provide appropriate notice to customers and local governments, according to a published report.

Bailey Cable TV reportedly closed its doors on Nov. 30, causing customers who lost pay-TV service to call various town officials seeking an explanation. Bailey officials were unreachable because calls placed to contact numbers on the company’s website resulted either in disconnections or automated messages saying the mail box was full.

One contact number for Bailey’s central office in Mississippi had this recording: “As of Nov. 30, 2023, Bailey Cable has closed its doors. If you have lost your service, it will not be restored. There will be no billing for the month of December. We thank you.”

In Jackson, La., about 2,700 subscribers lost local cable TV, or Internet access or both in a flash, a town official said.

“They did not notify anybody,” said Jackson Mayor Jimmy Norsworthy, who lost Bailey cable TV service. “They didn’t man up and say we’re shutting down on this date.”

Jackson lawyers are reviewing legal agreements in considering next steps relative to Bailey’s conduct, Norsworthy told Policyband. Bailey also likely had programming contracts with local TV stations and cable networks that could  complicate matters for the company.

As cable TV operators sunset their video product, they typically inform consumers about their decision, provide information about pay-TV alternatives, and supply the deadline for termination of service. Bailey’s sudden disappearance from the scene appears to be a departure from this evolving industry norm.

St. Francisville, a Louisiana community with 1,700 residents, lost Bailey service, though Bailey has not communicated its shutdown decision to city officials in writing, according to an informed source. Cable systems need a franchise to provide local cable TV service under federal law, according to the Federal Communications Commission’s website.

AT&T and Verizon also serve the St. Francisville community as does DirecTV and Dish. These companies can fill the void left by Bailey’s exit from the pay-TV market. According to one source, Bailey was not the dominant local provider, having just a small number of customers in St. Francisville.

More and more, traditional cable TV companies leaving the business steer their broadband Internet customers to streaming services like Google’s YouTube TV or perhaps even satellite TV. Colorado-based WOW! Internet, TV & Phone has formed a partnership with YouTube TV in an effort to ease out of the cable TV business.

Mid-Rivers Communications, based in Circle, Mont., began notifying customers a year ago that it was getting out of cable TV effective Dec. 31, 2023. The company said because only 10 percent of consumers took video and the cost of programming kept skyrocketing, it decided the time had come to get out of the cable TV business.

“Traditional cable television services are no longer a sustainable option for small communities,” Mid-Rivers’ subscriber notice said.