TIFTON - Mediacom Communications Corp. is working on a major upgrade of its cable television system in Tifton and hopes to begin offering high-speed Internet service by October.

Medicom Director of Operations Sally Bloom said Thursday that the upgrade will allow the company to deliver a larger number of digital and analog channels as well as improved picture quality and enhanced reliability.

"Rebuilding the system with fiber optic technology will make it much more reliable," Bloom said. "Customers will enjoy clearer, crisper pictures, with fewer service outages and interruptions. We've made a commitment to offer the best possible service at the best possible price, and this upgrade will clearly help fulfill that commitment."

Bloom said Mediacom will offer "significantly more" channels, although she did not know the exact number yet. The initial upgrade will affect the areas already served by Mediacom, but Bloom said future expansions are "a definite possibility."

Work has already begun on the fiber/coaxial upgrade, and crews are expected to start splicing fiber optic lines for the cable system soon. Bloom said while the splicing is in progress, customers will experience cable interruptions.

"While we regret the inconvenience to our customers; unfortunately there is no way around it," said Bloom. "In order to bring enhanced services to our customers, this work must be done."

She said she was sure there would be introductory offers for Medicom customers, but did not know the details yet.

Mediacom Communications is the seventh largest cable television company in the United States, serving 1.6 million basic subscribers in 23 states.

To contact city editor Florence Rankin, call 382-4321, ext. 209.

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