Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pity the Cable Companies

Last night the county council heard public testimony on Council Bill CB 60 that would basically require the cable companies to clean up their act. Not surprisingly, both Verizon and Comcast offered testimony opposing the bill.

The impetus for this bill came from citizen complaints about cable lines that are left unburied for extended periods of time. Often these lines cross yards and driveways and sometimes are even hung over trees and bushes. In my own neighborhood one such line was left hanging out there for over six months.

Of course the companies claim they are very concerned about this problem and are diligently working on improving the time it takes to get these lines buried properly. They pointed to bad weather and slow response time from Miss Utility as the main excuses for delays.


The bill, as it is written, gives the companies 15 days to bury a temporary line. Comcast has requested the council consider making that 15 business days which seems like a reasonable accommodation.

Verizon took a more bellicose approach to the bill. Their representative darkly implied that this bill would be a material change to their franchise agreement with the county and may result in expensive legal action. They said they are concerned about the precedent it might set for other jurisdictions.

Imagine that.

The cable companies are facing an uphill battle on this one. All of the council members have received complaints about this problem and the legislation itself is being sponsored by no less than four of the five council members, Calvin Ball, Mary Kay Sigaty, Jen Terrasa and Courtney Watson.


Dave W said...

The exposed cable lines cracks me up because in my neighborhood, at one point, had a major disruption to our service that required a new main cable line to be installed. Comcast put the line on top of the ground in teh common area behind the houses "temporarily" to get service up and running and claimed they would come bury it shortly thereafter.

Years went by and the line never got buried. Every time someone from Comcast would come out for a service call to my house year after year, the technician would see the unburied line and claim they would put in a "maintenance ticket" to get the line buried. Needless to say, the line never got buried.

I switched to Verizon Fios a year ago and really don't care at this point whether Comcast ever buries that line.

Anonymous said...

Temporary cable lines seem like a really odd thing to complain to a council person about, no matter how long they remain unburied.

Bob O said...

Interesting. I'll have to think about this.

Having dealt with both companies as a homeowner, I can say that Comcast seems to operate under a code of "worst practices." I think Verizon suffered from a too-fast build out of their FIOS network, which required them to sub-contract a lot of the work. Their mainline engineers and techs are pretty good.