Charter Communications has been put on notice by the City Council
that its cable television franchise could be in jeopardy if
improvements aren't made to service and safety.
While the council wanted staff members to continue renewal
negotiations with Charter, they also wanted other options to be
"We are tied to your company but we have a lot of problems and
complaints," Mayor Jef Vander Borght said. "I would like to see us
find competition to your services. It's the only way we are going to
improve the quality of service."
The council's comments came during a discussion at last week's
meeting following presentations on customer satisfaction with Charter
and an analysis of the company's infrastructure.
Charter's franchise agreement with the city expires on Dec. 2. The
city receives about $1 million from the company to be allowed to
provide cable service in the city.
A city-commissioned analysis of Charter's equipment found cable
wires tangled with electric wires, loose wiring, improper grounding
of cable wires and hazardous installation locations that are
violations to the city's municipal code.
"It's not every house in the city but it's a sizable problem,"
said Jonathan Kramer, the consultant who did the analysis.
Charter Director of Government Affairs Susan Evans responded that
safety is a top priority of the company and that it had an action
plan to address those issues that would be completed by the fall of
That response did not sit well with Vice Mayor Todd Campbell, who
said safety issues took precedence over bad reception and he wanted
more specifics on how those issues would be taken care of.
"If I were making a decision solely on this council, I'd have you
come back and say what your plan is," Campbell said. "If the answer
is the third quarter of 2006, I want to look at other people to
provide [cable] service in my community."
Evans said there was a disagreement between the company and the
city over Kramer's findings and some conclusions reached in the
analysis were based on assumptions rather than observation.
Charter owns and operates 730 miles of cable in Burbank and
Glendale and serves a total 73,000 customers in the two cities, Evans
"Given the size of the plant it simply is not possible to find it
in perfect condition at all times in all places," Evans said.
The city and Charter will continue its negotiations although the
city's stance will be to not delay any enforcement of code violations
indefinitely, Bill Marticorena, special counsel to the city on cable
A report will be brought back to the council within 30 days on the
status of the negotiations, Marticorena said.
What do you think of the service provided by Charter
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@latimes.comf7; mail them to the Burbank Leader, 111 W. Wilson Ave.,
Glendale, CA 91203. Please spell your name and include your address
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