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January 10, 2010

GEUS cable may drop NFL Network

GREENVILLE — A local cable television system is finding itself caught up in the ongoing battle over rising costs of programming.

GEUS is considering dropping the NFL Network from its cable television line-up, due to a spike in the amount the network is charging the company to carry two channels.

The GEUS board of trustees is scheduled to consider the matter during its regular session, starting at 6 p.m. Thursday in the GEUS Service Center, 6000 Joe Ramsey Boulevard. The issue is also included as one of the items to be discussed in an executive session during the meeting.

Time Warner Cable and Fox recently settled a very public dispute over programming rates. GEUS began showing the NFL Network before the network began showing Thursday night football games. Under that contract, GEUS was able to opt out of carrying the games on its cable television outlet, in order to avoid the increased costs involved.

The contract is up for renewal, with the new contract no longer allowing GEUS to opt out of carrying the Thursday night games. The contract to carry both the NFL Network and NFL Network HD also proposes a 350 percent increase in rates above their current rates, with increases in each year of the contract.

As the increase is expected to be well above what the utility had budgeted for the coming year, the staff is recommending the board of trustees not renew the contract with the network.

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