Nearly 20 years after breaking into the video business, municipal electric utility BELD Internet (formerly BELD Broadband) is throwing in the programming towel, telling its customers that as of Dec. 2 they will have to get their content elsewhere, and launching an education campaign to teach them how to do just that.
In the campaign, called “K.O. Cable,” and featuring rea local customers, BELD claims that signing on to its high-speed internet service and streaming video from other sources will save customers $1,000 or more per year. The launch also coincides with the introduction of BELD’s own 1 Gigabit-per-second data service.
“As of Dec. 2, 2019, BELD will no longer offer cable television service due to costs beyond our control,” BELD general manager Bill Bottiggi said in a press release. “So for any Braintree resident thinking about cutting the cord, now’s the time and we’ll coach you through it with straightforward, step-by-step guidance.”
BELD -- an acronym for Braintree Electric Light Department -- got permission to offer video in 2000.
BELD is the second small operator to shutter its video service. In June, Montana’s 3 Rivers Communications told its customers it would pull the plug on video on Oct. 31.
Small operators have been hit particularly hard by rising programming costs. And as streaming services have sprung up offering multiple channels at lower prices, operators are finding it harder to compete. CableOne was probably the first small operator to publicly de-emphasize video in favor of higher-margin broadband services. In the past few years, other larger operators have adopted similar stances.