Charter Communications is asking its Del Norte customers to obtain digital converter boxes this spring as it upgrades its analog cable TV system.

Once the company completes its move to an all-digital network, residents will be able to access more than 200 high-definition channels and faster Internet at no charge, said company spokesman Jack Hardy. The company is providing the digital converter boxes at no charge for now, he said.

"As we're doing away with analog signals it frees up more space to offer more HD channels," Hardy said. "Right away (customers) will be getting 85 new high definition channels once the upgrade is completed. And Internet speeds go up from 30 megabits per second to 60 megabits per second download speed. That's a pretty significant increase."

Charter has already completed digital upgrades in several markets, including parts of Oregon, Nevada, California and Washington, according to a company press release. The company plans to complete the upgrade across its 29-state footprint by the end of 2014.

Beginning April 1, residents who don't have a converter box and rely on analog cable will find their TVs going dark, Hardy said. In most cases, he said, customers can get a free converter box for a year, two or five years, depending on their package. After that, the charge for the converter box will be $6.99 a month, Hardy said.

For those customers who may not be sure if their service is analog or digital, Hardy said if their cable comes from the wall directly into the TV it's an analog-only set-up. Customers will need to obtain digital converter boxes for every TV in their home. For those who already have them, Charter's upgrade will be seamless, he said.

"We want customers to plan ahead and get the information and the box in advance," Hardy said. "We're sending an auto-tuning feature reminding people about the change that's coming."

Customers can have a digital converter box sent to their home by calling 1-888-438-2427. They can also pick up a digital converter box at the Crescent City Charter store at 1286 Northcrest Drive.

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