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On Wisconsin and on television: Charter announces it will carry the Big Ten Network

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Gazette Staff and McClatchy-Tribune
August 28, 2008

Get ready to sing “On Wisconsin.”


And maybe, just maybe, you’ll be able to sing along with the crowd at the game.


On Wednesday, Charter Communications, with extensive cable operations in Wisconsin, reached a deal with the Big Ten Network to carry Big Ten sports programming.


In a joint statement, the Big Ten Network and Charter said they were working together in an attempt to ensure that the majority of the systems that Charter operates “can launch the network on its expanded basic level of service in time for Saturday’s Big Ten college openers.”


One of those games, of course, is the University of Wisconsin game against the University of Akron game this Saturday at Camp Randall in Madison.


Charter serves the Janesville and Madison area, and Badger fans were upset that the game might not be available to Charter subscribers.


So when will we know about Saturday’s game?


“Right now it’s an hour by hour situation,” Charter director of communications John Miller said this morning. “Our engineers have to receive the electronic equipment and make sure it’s working.”


The company doesn’t want to “build up public expectations” until it knows for sure that the game will be broadcast, Miller said.


When the equipment is checked, the engineers will determine which channel will carry the Big Ten Network.


The programming will be available on expanded basic and high definition.


As was the case with this week’s agreement with Time Warner Cable, the deal covers several years, though neither company said for how long.


“Charter is pleased that an agreement ‘in principle’ to offer the Big Ten Network to our customers has been reached. We believe this agreement is in the best interests of all Charter customers and look forward to an exciting season of Big Ten sports. We will work closely with BTN to add the channel as soon as possible to our lineups, hopefully in time for this Saturday’s opening games.”


The deals with Charter and Time Warner represent the last major cable carriers to reach agreement with the Big Ten Network, which launched a year ago.


Earlier this summer, Comcast and the Big Ten Network reached agreement on carrying the network.



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