Tucson Oddity: It's a cable company; so why all the satellite dishes?

2013-02-18T00:00:00Z Tucson Oddity: It's a cable company; so why all the satellite dishes?Phil Villarreal Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 18, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Cable companies do all they can to persuade consumers of their service's superiority to satellite providers.

Which is why you wouldn't expect to find several satellite dishes at a cable building. Yet that's what you can see at the Comcast location at 8251 N. Cortaro Road.

Here's the lowdown: Comcast uses satellite technology to help relay its TV programming through its network.

Comcast serves about 80,000 customers in the region, and most live outside city limits. The company took over the building, which was built in 1991, after it acquired a controlling interest in Jones Intercable Inc. in 1999.

Comcast also operates a retail store at 5615 E. River Road that does not have satellite dishes nearby.

Comcast's territory is north of River Road, and Cox Communications covers the area south, including Green Valley and Sahuarita. No law dictates where each is allowed to offer services, but the companies stick to their territories because both lack network infrastructure in the other's territory.

According to Comcast spokeswoman Kelle Maslyn, the satellite dishes are an evolution from "community antennas" that cable companies used in the 1950s to relay broadcast signals to homes with poor over-the-air reception. The name Comcast, she explained, is a combination of the words "community" and "broadcast.

In the 1970s, Comcast started using a national satellite distribution system to send programming to locations around the country, and it continues to use the systems today.

Got an oddity?

Is there something you've noticed while driving through Tucson that has piqued your curiosity? Or is there some piece of Old Pueblo history you've wondered about? Drop us a line and we'll look into it. Contact the Star newsroom at oddity@azstarnet.com or 807-7776.

Contact reporter Phil Villarreal at 573-4130 or pvillarreal@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Activate

Follow the Arizona Daily Star

Deals, offers & events

View more...
Get weekly ads via e-mail