As the feds continue to evaluate the wisdom of the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger, local communities in several states are attempting to throw a wrench in the federal approval machine.
In Worcester, Massachusetts, the City Council recently refused to approve the transfer of the city's cable television license to Comcast. In order to sweet-talk the federal agencies concerned the merger may create too much market concentration, Comcast has worked out a deal with Charter Communications to transfer customers in certain geographic areas. Charter is the current incumbent in Worcester.
According to a Telegam & Gazette article, the City Council does not need to approve the transfer for it to take affect. Nevertheless, the City Council voted 8-3 on October 14 to urge City Manager, Edward M. Augustus Jr., not to approve the transfer of the license. If Augustus makes no determination, the transfer will automatically be approved.
The city can only examine the transfer based on four criteria including company management, technical experience, legal experience, and financial capabilities. Management and poor customer service are the sticking points for Worcester:
District 5 Councilor Gary Rosen said the City Council should not welcome Comcast to Worcester because of its "deplorable and substandard" customer service across the country.
"It's a terrible company," he said. "In my opinion, they should not be welcome in this city. Comcast is a wolf in wolf's clothing; it's that bad. They are awful, no doubt about it. Maybe we can't stop it, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't speak out."
A similar scenario is playing out in Lexington, Kentucky. The community is the second largest city served by Time Warner Cable in the state. They are concerned existing customer service problems will worsen if Comcast becomes their provider.
The Urban City Council drafted two resolutions denying the transfer. The resolutions had first reading on October 9. Customer service is, again, a point of contention.
According to an October 9 Kentucky.com article, the city proposed including a fine for poor customer service as part...Read more