The Rochester City Council was briefed Monday on some major changes involving the local Charter Communications franchise.  Within a month, every Charter customer in the city will be transitioned into a digital service - which means every TV set will be required to have a conversion box, which will cost $7 per month.

 The Council was told the changeover is expected to take place October 14th for many customers and a week earlier for others.  Due to federal law, the city has no control over the change in service or the fees.

Yesterday’s meeting also dealt with Charter’s franchise agreement, which expires today. The Council has agreed to extend the agreement on a temporary basis through the end of March to give both sides enough time to work out a long-term deal.  One issue that will be dealt with is the relocation of the public, educational and governmental access channels.  They are currently located at channels  19 - 22.  The digital transition will move them into an upper tier.

The Council was also told the local transition will be one of the last by Charter as most of its other markets have already made the move.  Charter is also involved in a new deal with Comcast.  If it wins final regulatory approval, Charter will be the service provider for most of Minnesota’s cable TV customers.

Read more about the new entity known as Greatland Connections here.