City Waits to Finalize Charter Communications Contract, Got an Issue?


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For those area residents who are Charter Communications cable customers and haven’t received their most recent bills, they can expect a price hike effective on or after February 15, 2016, according to information relayed by Lamar City Administrator, John Sutherland. He informed the Lamar City Council of the price hike notification during the council’s January 25th meeting.  The letter states current pricing will be adjusted for the Changes of Service Computerized Fee from $2.99 to $4.99 and a Late Fee charge will be increased from $7.95 to $8.95.   Last year the council approved continuing the Charter Communications franchise agreement with the city.  Councilman Kirk Crespin asked if the city and Charter had finalized their latest agreement, to which Sutherland replied, “Not yet.  We have a meeting set up for February 17th with their government relations manager.”

The most recent agreement with the city for cable service was with Cablevision which expired on September 12, 2014. The original ten year agreement was made between the city and Bresnan Communications which expired in 2009 and was replaced with a five year agreement.  During that period, Bresnan sold to Cablevision Systems which, in turn, sold to Charter.

Sutherland added that a recent discussion with the company representative focused on quality of service. “She was inquiring where we were with our review of her Charter franchise proposal and that matter came up.”  Sutherland said the manager stated the company had not seen many calls to their customer service line, so she assumed service must have improved.  She added she would like to see names and addresses of customers who have issues with the service.  “So we’re going to do that,” Sutherland informed the council, “We’re going to put together our thoughts for who is complaining and the nature of their problem so we can address this.”

Crespin said it may be a matter of customers not wanting to stay on hold for twenty minutes to be informed the problem should be corrected in another five minutes. He noted that it seems like there have been a couple of other price increases since the city has been working on this contract.  “It would be difficult to go back to the citizens and say we have another price increase when we haven’t even finalized the contract yet,” he offered.  Sutherland added he mentioned that the contract with the company is not an exclusive franchise.  Mayor Roger Stagner said the area customers should be aware that they can let the city or the council know if they have issues or problems so the city can take note and bring it to their attention.

Customers will remember several years ago when what has been termed as a disruption impacting video services, traced to a splice enclosure owned by a third party fiber vendor, was the cause for Charter Communication customers to lose their TV reception Super Bowl Sunday, February 2, 2014 for most of the day.  A company spokesperson said approximately 3,500 customers between Lamar and La Junta were without service until about 30 minutes prior to the kick-off.  Charter customers can email their thoughts, addresses and phone number to the city through City Clerk, Linda Williams at
(Editor’s Note:  There may have been an issue with connecting with the Clerk’s Office email.  The address is correct and the city suggests trying again if your email was returned earlier.”

By Russ Baldwin

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