January 3, 2013

Many Mainers may not get Al Jazeera

Shortly after the announcement that Al Jazeera would buy the cable channel Current TV, Time Warner Cable, the state’s largest cable provider, announced that it would drop the channel immediately.

By Ray Routhier rrouthier@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

The Qatar-based TV news network Al Jazeera may soon be seen in millions of U.S. homes, but may not be widely available in Maine.

Al Jazeera has bought the cable channel Current TV, which was started by former Vice President Al Gore in 2005 and reaches 60 million U.S. households, and plans to transform it into a news channel called Al Jazeera America, according to an announcement on its website Thursday.

But many Mainers may not be able to ge the new network because Time Warner Cable, which is the state’s largest cable provider with more than 360,000 customers, has announced it is dropping Current TV immediately.

Andrew Russell, a spokesperson for Time Warner in Maine, said Time Warner was "preparing" to drop Current TV before the sale due to "incredibly low" ratings. Current TV has been available in Greater Portland on Time Warner channel 148.

Current TV is also carried in Maine by Comcast, Dish Network, and Direct TV. National representatives of those carriers had not announced their intentions Thursday morning.

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