CalNeva Makes Strides to Improve Cable TV System

By Patric Hedlund

Cable television and its broadband internet service have been earning both positive and negative comments on the mountain following CalNeva’s acquisition 18 months ago.

Some customers tell of improvements in the television service. Sue Groves said she did not receive a radio channel she purchased. David Nelson questions the internet speeds. Others say they are happy with it now.

Tom Gelardi, owner of CalNeva Broadband, said in an interview earlier this month that he has recruited a new technical manager for the greater Frazier Mountain system. Gerard Palmisano has relocated from Valencia to Pinon Pines for this job. He has 20 years of experience, Gelardi said.

“I bought five Rapid Cable systems out of bankruptcy and four out of five problems I’ve had with them are all in the Frazier Park system,” Gelardi said.

The cable distribution system has had maintenance challenges in recent years after aerial transmission lines and their supporting poles were battered in the 2005 snowstorms. The former technician has alleged vandalism strikes for over four years.

Gelardi has provided documentation to The Mountain Enterprise of his efforts to take over poles and easements abandoned by AT&T that pass through national forest land. Securing the easements would make upgrades to the cable transmission lines possible.

At least one customer has taken Gelardi to court, but unsuccessfully: “Carlos L’Dera sued CalNeva to recover money paid to Rapid Cable for service provided prior to CalNeva’s purchase of the system,” Gelardi said in an interview May 24. “CalNeva bought the assets in December 2008, and the time covered by the complaint predated the purchase, so the judge dismissed it,” he said.

On February 25, 2010 L’Dera turned his small claims court litigation toward the County of Kern, grantor of the CATV franchise for this area.

In online business directories, L’Dera lists among his professions “registered process server.” He had a subpoena served on The Mountain Enterprise this month, asking for unpublished research notes to assist him in his suit against Kern County. California laws protect reporters against such actions, according to California Newspaper Publishers Association counsel Jim Ewert.

Meanwhile, Gelardi is emphatic about his goals for CalNeva: “I just want to improve the service and build a good reputation for the company,” he said.

This is part of the May 28, 2010 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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