Cable television will be available to all residents of the small city of Manassas Park by the end of 1983, according to R. Calvin Sutliff Jr., president of Cablevision of Manassas Park, and Mayor Wendall Hite.
Officially awarded the 15-year franchise last week in a unanimous City Council vote, Cablevision will connect the first homes to its 30-channel system as early as September, Sutliff said, beginning on the east side of Rte. 28 with Manassas Park Village, Outlook and Brandy Court. He anticipates up to 70 percent of the 2,000 homes will take the service, which he hopes later to extend beyond the city limits to Yorkshire.
"Residents are going to get a better system than the 108-channel system Media General is putting in Fairfax," Sutliff said, "because I didn't include a lot of expensive extras that people aren't interested in."
Cablevision, the city's second choice for the franchise, began negotiating an agreement with Manassas Park about four months ago. That's when a local group of investors with Enfield Communications of Alexandria, who first received the bid, pulled out of negotiations.
When Cablevision reentered the picture, Hite said he was impressed with Sutliff's understanding of the city's situation and knowledge of cable television. Sutliff has, in fact, been a founder of and stockholder in 10 small cable television systems in Alabama and Florida.
The Manassas Park system, expandable to 60 channels, will cost about $1 million to build, Sutliff said, adding he should be able to operate in the black after the third year.
By October, the company's office, studio and antennae will be at Conner Center on Manassas Drive, Sutliff said, but a temporary office, run by General Manager Jeff Waggoner, will be open by mid-July.
The basic 30-channel service will be offered at $9.50 a month, with a special hook-up rate of $5 during the first 30 days. Later, installation will cost $15. The price of installation will cover a push-button device that allows customers to enter coded numbers and lock out one or more channels.
Along with 12 metropolitan area broadcast channels, the basic Cablevision system will provide 14 satellite services, including superstations WTBS of Atlanta, WGN of Chicago and WOR of New York, the sports channels ESPN and USA Network, the music channels Nashville and Network and Music TV, the news channels CNN and CNN II and The Weather Channel.
Two channels are designated for use by the city and schools and two for local programming, for which Sutliff has made a $50,000 equipment commitment.
Cablevision will charge extra for four premium satellite services. HBO and Cinemax each will cost $7 a month; the Disney Channel, $7.95; and Home Theatre Network, $4.50.