Wednesday , March 29 2023

Opnion: Cable TV charges for pensioners on Statia increased by 50%

As of the 1st April, pensioners are now being charged USD45 to view their favorite television programs supplied by Statia Cable TV. For the last few years, this provider has maintained fees at USD30 for local residents over the age of 65. But such a spike in the cost of viewing has not been welcomed by the Island’s increasing number of senior citizens.

I am one such pensioner who thinks that the television cable provider has gone too far. It is pure profiteering. The cable company thinks it has a monopoly like Winair to jack-up fees when it wants for its customers. My pension has only risen by three percent this year but the new owners of the cable company have hiked up their charges by 50 per cent. So much for their community spirit! They put profit before pensioners. They are cashing-in by exploiting those who are often the poorest and most vulnerable members of our island society.

But for many of these retired people, television is often the main source of enjoyment. This move for money is not only greedy but also amounts to age discrimination. Typically, the elderly do not have the skills to switch over to internet based alternatives. Statia Cable TV has not taken into account the law of diminishing returns. When I complained about the new charge at the TV cable office, I was greeted with dismissive arrogance and loud rudeness. This is how they reward long standing and thus loyal customers.

Switch-off and switch-over

I understand that Eutel is planning to launch an alternative and cheaper television service next year. If that is the case, many households including pensioners will switch-off and switch-over. You can use your television remote control to choose the channel but common sense controls where you shop for your signal. Many television screens on Statia will go out as the poorest section of the Island’s society dumps the costly fable cable. From now on, I shall refuse to pay the TV fee and I will use my PC for news and views.

Owners of the cable company are Saba Communications N.V. However, viewers on Saba are only charged USD 30. Nevertheless, the cable provider is ‘shooting itself in the foot’.

Consumers on Saba are also not satisfied with the same cable company on that island. Many households have replaced their local cable provider through the purchase of a dish and decoder. The general consensus is that the cable service leaves much to be desired. To date there seems to have been no significant change: blocks still pop-up on the screen asking for the consumer to pay his or her bill, while the consumer is paid up!
Many folks on the island of Saba have been criticizing the cable TV management and rightly so. The service is less than acceptable and immediate improvement is required or many more will turn their back on the local cable service provider. They will seek an alternative to view their favorite programs and to remain up-to-date with world and regional news!

Searching questions about the cable TV and their concession are expected to be asked at the next open public Central Committee Meeting on St. Eustatius.

James Russell

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