AUGUSTA — The local public access television channel broadcasting Cony High School basketball games and meetings of the Augusta City Council, Board of Education, and Planning Board is being moved by Spectrum cable from channel 7 up to channel 1301, a move that drawing concerns that the public will miss out on the programming.

Augusta city officials say are concerned viewers may not be able to find the locally-produced programming on CTV-7 after the move to a channel so far removed from its current spot in the channel lineup.

“CTV-7 is going to go black, and move up to 1301, and some concern has been expressed to me by subscribers that there’s going to be confusion in the community, with people not knowing that,” Mayor David Rollins said. “There is a perception we’re going to get inundated with complaints. Dec. 5 is the first Cony basketball game. So all of a sudden people are going to try to find Cony basketball, and it’s not on channel 7.”

The switch of that channel and a handful of others is expected to take place Tuesday as part of a technology upgrade cable provider Spectrum, which earlier this year acquired Time Warner, is making to several of its service tiers.

Andrew Russell, northeast director of communications for Spectrum, said that as part of that change the company is standardizing channel locations and grouping similar channels together.

“All the public access channels will be located in the 1300s on Spectrum channel lineups,” Russell said in an email. “This will be consistent statewide and nationally, and makes it easier for customers to find local programming no matter what town or state they are in if it’s in a Spectrum service area.”

City Manager William Bridgeo said it appears there is nothing the city can do about the channel change because the franchise agreement between the cable provider and city doesn’t address such changes.

“I feel powerless when it comes to cable television and our ability to regulate,” he told city councilors who discussed the issue Thursday night. “We have minimal power. This is a huge national corporation. They’ve made a corporate decision. They’ve sort of just told us this is what it is. Didn’t give us much lead time at all. And I feel the same obligation you do, to try to get the word out. There are a lot of people who tune in to channel 7. And I’m not convinced when it goes dark on the 5th, there is going to be anything on that dark station, to tell people to go anywhere else.”

Rollins said he has talked to Andy Collar, director of operations of Digital Spirit Media, the company that oversees, produces and broadcasts CTV-7 programming, who said a message and graphic will run on channel 7 informing viewers CTV-7 moved to channel 1301.

However, starting Tuesday, there will be no channel 7 in the Spectrum lineup, and thus no channel to broadcast a message saying it has moved.

Russell said to find the public access channel after that date, customers can use the channel guide to find it, or tune directly to 1301.

Leif Dahlin, community services director for the city, said notices will be posted on CTV-7 until Tuesday and a notice will also be put on the city’s website. He said he suspects there will still be a few people who will not be aware of the change.

Rollins also said the change has been well-publicized by the cable company.

The company sent a letter to subscribers last month, noting the channel changes and warning that, also starting Tuesday, viewers will need to have digital equipment, from Spectrum, on each of their televisions to be able to view Spectrum programming after Tuesday. Company officials said about 90 percent of customers already have some type of cable box in their home and most customers won’t have to do anything to continue to view programming after Tuesday.

The letter notes the new technology encrypting basic channels will help prevent unauthorized viewing and secure its network.

If Spectrum customers have a TV plugged directly into a cable wall outlet they will need to get a digital box to continue watching, including if they have TVs with built-in digital tuners.

Russel said if customers need a digital box they can call 1-844-830-4787 to order a self-install kit, or pick one up at Spectrum stores, which are located in Augusta and Winslow.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj