As I mentioned earlier, the county's MFP committee was scheduled to review the performance of the cable franchises.
I was unable to attend so I plowed through the packet - 42 pages of the same stuff as usual. I already mentioned in my all-too-verbose report (Rubberstamp This) from last week that Comcast was being fined. Some new statistics were mentioned but in the interest of brevity, I'll merely mention that Comcast failed to turn in all the 4th quarter data so no one can even tell whether or not they're in compliance. However Comcast finally did turn in data (late!) for the 3rd quarter showing it was out of compliance in all customer service areas. Most notable is the requirement to repair within 24 hours - Comcast was below the 95% level required by the franchise.
RCN turned in its 4th quarter data on time and was in compliance. It received a warning for being out of compliance in the 3rd quarter. (In contrast, Comcast has been out of compliance long enough to start being assessed fines. See my earlier report for more detail.)
Some positive news: Complaints about Comcast to the Cable Office were down 44% in the 4th quarter with, ahem, only 282 complaints. In contrast RCN's complaint level nearly doubled in the 4th quarter. Of course, the absolute figures are significant - Comcast had 282 complaints, RCN 16. The largest number of Comcast complaints were service-related. RCN billing-related.
In the 4th quarter, county inspectors reported 2298 construction violations in the Comcast cable plant. (Construction violations include such things as improper grounding, missing guy wires, missing pedestal covers, and exposed temporary underground cables in rights-of-way. Note that the entire plant is not inspected in each quarter.) At the end of the year, 1447 remained unfixed. That's an astounding 63%.
RCN: 526 construction violations. For the entire year, 2114 remain unfixed. If Comcast was astounding at 63% remaining unfixed for the year, RCN is super-astounding at 87%. Congratulations you two!
I'll Stick With Analog, Thank You
Earlier, I mocked a Comcast representative for suggesting that pixelation problems in the digital channels were not easily solvable. People are still complaining about these. And although the complaint levels have gone down, the county's outside consultant, Columbia Telecommunications Corp, says that this so-called tiling remains an ongoing problem. CTC asserts that these complaints are issues in the local wiring and have recommended that Comcast replace customer drops as each is converted from analog to digital. If problems remain, CTC recommends Comcast send technicians that are trained to diagnose and fix such problems.
Bottom line: The problems are diagnosable. Are fixable. (But here's the rub...) With trained technicians.
Oh, and if you don't complain, don't expect your problems to clear up.