Service Electric Cablevision, Inc., incorporated in early 1991, is one of several successor corporations to a community antenna television (now called cable television) business started by John and Margaret Walson in the spring of 1948. Service Electric Company, the original name, was formed by Mr. and Mrs. Walson in the mid 1940s to sell, install and repair General Electric appliances in the Mahanoy City area of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. In 1947, they began selling television sets. It was very difficult and most times impossible to receive the three Philadelphia network stations in Mahanoy City because the town is surrounded by mountains and located some eighty-six (86) air miles away. Because of this situation, Mr. Walson erected a utility pole on top of a nearby mountain and placed an antenna on the pole so he could demonstrate television.
In searching for ways to increase sales, he decided to connect the tower site to their appliance store by using wire/cable and modified signal boosters. In June of 1948, he successfully connected a nearby tower site to the appliance store as well as several homes along the cable path. His experiences as a Pennsylvania Power & Light field employee and his technical degree in electronics proved beneficial in starting the nation’s first CATV system. People who lived in the small mountainous towns of northeastern Pennsylvania could now receive three Philadelphia television channels in their homes or could congregate outside the Walson’s appliance store to view this new communication medium.
The late John Walson was recognized by the U.S. Congress and the National Cable Television Association as the founder of the cable television industry. Mr. Walson can also claim many other firsts, including being the first cable operator to use microwave to import distant television stations, to use coaxial cable for improved picture quality and to distribute pay television programming (HBO).
Today, Service Electric Television is a private, family owned cable business servicing over two hundred and ninety-four thousand (294,000) subscribers located in approximately two hundred and fifty (250) communities in Central and Northeastern Pennsylvania and Northwestern New Jersey. On an industry-wide basis, Service Electric Television ranks as the twelfth (12th) largest Multiple System Operator (MSO). Service Electric Cablevision, an affiliate company of Service Electric Television, serves nearly ninety thousand (90,000) subscribers and one hundred (100) Pennsylvania communities in three operating regions.
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