Time Warner Cable Won't Drop NECN

After saying it did not plan to change its plans to drop New England Cable Network, Time Warner Cable has changed its plans to drop the network.

It announced Friday that it would continue to deliver NECN to its customers in New England, though it will not add the network if it expands in the region, according to a TWC source.

"After further discussion, we’re pleased to announce continued carriage of NECN for our customers in New England," the company said. "Time Warner Cable customers who currently have access to NECN will continue to have access after January 1, 2014; there will be no disruption in service."

TWC had said it was dropping the channel because of economics and quality.

"NECN has now agreed to work with our leadership at Time Warner Cable News to improve the quality of their local programming for our customers," the company said.

TWC had been pressured by local and state legislators to keep the network on, including state legislator Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli, and the Massachusetts senatorial delegation. But it had said up until Friday it had no plans to do so.

The change of mind drew praise from the state's newest senator, Democrat Ed Markey.

"Christmas has come early for the Berkshires with Time Warner’s decision to continue carrying NECN in its channel lineup,” he said. “NECN is a valuable source of information for Massachusetts and New England news and keeps the western part of the Commonwealth connected to the larger region. I commend Time Warner for listening to its customers and reversing its decision.” 

“We appreciate that the residents of Maine and New England view NECN as a critical service," said NECN GM Mike St. Peter. "We are thrilled Time Warner heard their customers’ voices and will continue to carry NECN. We remain committed to quality programming and our partnership with Time Warner.”

Actually, TWC had said it was its customers who weren't watching the channel. "The vast majority of our subscribers don’t watch this network," the company had said as recently as Wednesday.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.