Blue Ridge Communications was founded in 1950 as the Palmerton TV Signal Corporation as a means of delivering over the air TV services to the people of the Blue of Palmerton, Pennsylvania. The company expanded into telephone services in 1955 with the purchase of the Palmerton Telephone Company. 1956 saw the purchase of the Blue Ridge Telephone Company. The company adopted the name Pencor Services, Inc. in 1965.
More History of Blue Ridge Communications
Blue Ridge Communications Palmerton is a subsidiary of Pencor Services, Inc. Pencor is an acronym for Pennsylvania Entertainment Communications and Recreations. In the ’60s, the owner/president of the company, Claude E. Reinhard, decided to expand into publishing and the company started buying up local newspapers such as The Mauch Chunk Times News, Lansford Evening Record, and the Tamaqua Evening Courier. This portion of the company is now known as The Times News and has a coverage area from Tamaqua to Slatington.
The year 1971 saw the company spin off the Cable TV division into Blue Ridge Cable Television, Inc. This was done in order to reflect their expanded coverage areas, which now included the Poconos and Panther Valley Areas. 1981 saw the company begin to offer Cable choices such as ESPN, WTBS, MTV, and USA, to give their customers a wider choice of programming options. The company also has its own Blue Ridge Communications TV-13 channel which focuses on everything local viewing area. They have Cable 11 as well, which services the Ephrata and Northern Lancaster areas and includes CNN Headlines News Local Edition, and coverage of local special events and sports. In 1999, the name of the company was changed to what we see today, Blue Ridge Communications, from Blue Ridge Cable Technologies.
For Blue Ridge Communications, Palmerton Is Still Home
Pencor and Blue Ridge are still headquartered in Palmerton, PA. Service is offered throughout the Blue Mountains area of Pennsylvania to communities such as Duncannon, Newberry, Ephrata, Gilbert, Stroudsburg, and more. The company now offers Cable TV, home and mobile Phone, and Internet service. The Blue Ridge Internet is provided through a consortium with other area providers known as ProLog.
Blue Ridge TV Comes in 5 Flavors
Blue Ridge Communications offers five Cable TV packages for subscribers to choose from. These are Broadcast Basic, Basic+, Digital Gateway, Digital Basic, and Digital Basic+. Digital Basic+ is their most popular Cable package. This package comes with over 300 channels, an onscreen guide, and 50 music channels that are commercial free. There are also interactive services such as Football Tracker, PassTime Games and TV Caller ID.
Digital Basic drops the channel count to 250 channels, but retains all the other features of Digital Basic+. Basic+ gives subscribers access to local network affiliates (ABC, NBC, etc.) and a variety of the most popular Cable networks. Broadcast Basic is only local network affiliates. The Digital Gateway package gives you access the onscreen guide, the music channels, the interactive services mentioned above, and TV Caller ID. However, subscribers get access to Basic (Basic+ package) Cable TV services.
Pricing for the packages mentioned above is a little confusing. Broadcast Basic runs about $23 a month, while Basic+ runs in the area of $67 a month. The Digital Gateway package, which includes both Broadcast Basic and Basic+ bumps the price up to just over $70 a month. The Digital Basic package bumps that up to almost $80 a month, while Digital Basic+ skips to almost $85 a month.
Each of the Digital packages allows you to add extra features also. For example, there’s Disney Family Movies On Demand for an extra $5 a month and Anime Network On Demand for about $7 a month. You can also add the premium channels like HBO and SHOWTIME to any package for a small monthly fee. This fee varies by what programming options you choose. Also unlike most other companies, their installation price of about $50 is quite a bit higher than other providers.
Blue Ridge TV also offers several HD packages, which is different from most other providers that offer HD programming as part of their regular packages. HDTV packages can be added to any of the packages mentioned above and they range in price from about $75 a month to just under $100 a month. The Digital packages all offer access to a healthy OnDemand movie library, also.
Blue Ridge Internet Offers Six Pricing Options for Subscribers
The Internet offerings provided by Blue Ridge Communications range in speed from a basic web surfer account at 1.5 megabits per second (Mbps) and the G50 plan (available only in certain areas) that delivers 50 Mbps. Prices here also vary depending on what other services you have. For example, there are three pricing tiers for the Web Surfer package:
- Basic+ subscribers will pay about $28 a month
- Broadcast Basic subscribers will pay about $34 a month, and
- Those that don’t have Blue Ridge Cable TV service will pay about $43 a month
Jumping up to the G50 plan, the pricing tiers are about $110, about $115, and about $125 per month.
If you have no plans to stream movies from sites such as Netflix and Hulu, the Web Surfer package is ideal, since it doesn’t provide enough bandwidth to provide an enjoyable streaming experience. If you want to be able to stream enjoyably, then you need at least the G5 plan. If you have more than one computer or device connected, I’d recommend jumping up to the G10 plan, as it has enough reserve bandwidth to allow two or three devices online while streaming movies.
Crystal Clear Digital Phone from Blue Ridge Communications
In an ongoing effort to be your one-stop telecommunications source, Blue Ridge also offers one digital Phone package, with the familiar three-tiered pricing structure based upon your TV options.
- Subscribers to at least Basic+ TV and Internet will pay about $35 a month
- Subscribers to either Internet or at least Basic+ will pay about $40 a month
- Those that only have Phone service will pay about $50 a month.
However, those aren’t the only charges customers will incur. Need to call directory assistance (Information) for a number? That’ll be about a buck and quarter, plus tax, every time you do. If you use long distance directory assistance (555-1212 directory assistance) you pay more than two buck plus tax per call.
Phone features are managed through your customer portal at www.mybrctv.com. You can also pay your bill, check to see what’s on next, and get a wealth of local news and information that you can tailor to your needs. Phone service comes with most of the calling options that you’ve come to take for granted such as voicemail, call waiting, Caller ID, and call forwarding.
Bundle Up and Save
The main Blue Ridge site, www.brctv.com also offers a number of bundles to help you save money. There are three different basic types of bundles offered. These are HD Bundles, Triple Plays, and Other Bundles.
The most popular HD bundle is the $120 HD+ Triple Play which includes more than 300 channels of Basic+, Digital Basic+, and HD+ TV services, G% Internet and digital Phone. Another five bucks a month bumps you to the HD+ Triple Play with DVR bundle that add a DVR to the above options.
The Triple Play bundles are similar to the HD bundles except they don’t offer HD channels. With the Digital Basic+ Triple Play, you still get the three services< TV, Internet, and Phone) of the bundle mentioned above, with the difference being no HD channels and about $10 less per month.
Do you have Blue Ridge as a provider? If so, drop me a note below and let me know what you think.