Brownwood Mayor Bert Massey recalled the time in the 1950s when homes here sported large, ugly antennas — monstrosities that were necessary for television reception.

Even with the antennas, television viewers could receive a single channel, Massey said — Channel 9 in Abilene.

That changed when Brownwood Television Cable came to town, giving viewers access to ABC, CBS and NBC, as well as Channel 11, an independent Metroplex station that showed movies, Massey said.

After 53 years in operation, the cable company is shutting down. The office will close Sept. 11, and the signal turned off Sept. 14, general manager Karen McMillan said.

“Initially they were good,” Massey said. “I mean, it was a big deal. I’m sorry to hear it. It’s sad to see them go by the wayside.”

Over the past several years, the company has been subject to numerous complaints from customers who claimed the quality of the signal and the service have been poor. Rumors and speculation have been rampant as to whether the company was still in business.

“We’re going to close the doors,” McMillan said Wednesday in a phone interview. “It was something we thought long and hard about.”

McMillan attributed the decision to close to “hard economic times.”

“We appreciate the loyalty of our customers,” she said.

She said the company has operated with a hybrid of technology — part coaxial and part fiber optics.

Saying he is just speculating, Massey said the company might have found itself unable to afford to modernize its technology. “Like everything else in the technology field, things change,” Massey said.

Massey also noted that the company has been facing competition in recent years from satellite television and Harris Broadband.

McMillan said the company has five employees. She said the corporate office would have information on the number of subscribers. No one from that office was available Wednesday.