Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Cable Provider Facing Penalties Poor Service May Draw Fine from City

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Cable Provider Facing Penalties Poor Service May Draw Fine from City

Article excerpt

Byline: Shawna Sundin, Times-Union staff writer

Despite a decrease this week in complaints to City Hall about cable service, AT&T Broadband still will likely have to pay for its inadequate customer service this year.

Howard Conner, cable franchise manager for the city, said he'll probably recommend the City Council fine the cable company because its quarterly report due to the Federal Communications Commission next month will show it hasn't met the standards required in the company's cable franchise contract with the city.

Before this month the city was averaging about 100 calls a month from cable customers complaining about things such as being on hold up to an hour when they call the company, faulty equipment and incorrect billing.

The number of such calls peaked at more than 100 a day last week, but this week's number of calls has dropped to about 65 a day, Conner said.

"Even 65 a day is a lot and it's an unmanageable problem that still exists," Conner said. "Sixty-five a day is extremely unreasonable."

Maureen O'Neill, executive director of communications for AT&T Broadband, said the company also isn't satisfied with 65 complaints a day and that there should be noticeably less by mid-July.

"We're delighted that the calls continue to decline, but we're not going to be happy until there aren't any," she said.

O'Neill also said it's likely the company won't meet the city's standards for service, which include answering phone calls from cable customers within 30 seconds with at least a recording, but she wouldn't comment specifically on the possibility of being fined.

Conner has said the amount of the fines would depend on what specific things the city decides to take punitive action against and that the FCC also could take action against AT&T Broadband for not meeting the commission's standards. …

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