TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Five Year Wait for Cable Service

Five Year Wait for Cable Service

PR Newswire (
Sat, 31 Dec 2005 18:20:07 -0600

New York Man's 5-Year Fight for Service Takes 1st Place in Worst
Cable Nightmare Contest; 'Cable Dragon You Down?' Web site Theme Rings in
New Year

INDIANAPOLIS, Dec. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Think your wait for the cable
guy was too long? Count yourself lucky you aren't David Shapiro, who
waged a five-year long battle that took him from town to state
government offices before he could get affordable cable television
service at his New York home.

"I felt like I was the only one in the world left on dial-up," said
Shapiro, who by day works on supercomputers for IBM but until October
depended on spotty dial-up connections to reach the electronic world.

Shapiro's saga earned him an iPod Nano and the dubious honor of
submitting December's worst cable horror story to , a Web site that offers frustrated
consumers a forum to vent about bad cable TV service. It offers the
monthly contest as a consolation prize for those who have suffered the
most. The Web site's current theme, "Cable Dragon You Down?" wonders
if 2006 will be The Year of The Cable Rate Increase (Again.)

Consumers for Cable Choice (C4CC), a national alliance of individuals
and groups working for cable TV competition to control prices and to
improve program offerings and customer service, sponsors the cable
nightmare Web site.

"David's story is a clear example of why we need competition in the
cable TV market right away," said Robert K. Johnson, C4CC president.
"Incumbent cable companies have no incentive to value consumers, and
as a result, rates are skyrocketing while customer service is
plummeting. Competition will reverse that course."

Shapiro, one of the newest members of C4CC, learned firsthand about
the need for regulatory reform in 2000 when he sought cable service at
his home, which is in the town of Esopus near the Highland town
border. Shapiro has a Highland address, but cable service was
available only through Esopus. In separate offers over five years,
the company authorized to serve his neighborhood offered to install
cable at Shapiro's house for fees ranging from more than $18,000 to
nearly $26,500. The Highland-based cable company would install for
free, but it didn't have an Esopus franchise and as such, couldn't
legally make the connection.

Frustrated and unwilling to pay such a premium for installation,
Shapiro repeatedly appealed to town officials and the New York State
Public Service Commission (Case No. 427808). Finally, the Town of
Esopus applied for a second cable franchise and won the state approval
it needed to offer competition.

In October 2005, Shapiro finally got cable service through the new
provider. His installation cost: zero dollars. He bought the company's
triple play of Internet/phone/television service, eliminating three
land lines for phone service, along with his monthly dial-up Internet
Service Provider fee. Total savings were over $100 month.

"I wouldn't have been as frustrated by my lack of high-speed access if
the entire area around me also couldn't get it," Shapiro said. "But
around here, almost everyone else already had high speed Internet
service. At work I was the only one stuck on dial-up service."

Johnson said the Web site compilation of cable nightmares is designed
to demonstrate to policy makers just how badly reform is needed. "If
you think Dave's experience is bad -- and it is -- look at our Top Ten
Cable Nightmares of 2005," Johnson said, referring to the Worst of the
Worst list from 2005 available by contacting Cheryl Reed at .

About Consumers for Cable Choice, Inc.

Headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind. Consumers for Cable Choice, Inc.
is a national alliance of consumer advocacy groups, private citizens
and others who are committed to promoting maximum choice for consumers
in cable, video and broadband services. Consumers for Cable Choice
uses a combination of education and grassroots advocacy to impact
change, which will result in a deregulated and pro-consumer market
that stimulates fair price, more choices and better service options in
the cable television industry. President Robert K. Johnson has been
advocating for policies that benefit residential and small business
consumers for more than 20 years. To learn more, visit or .

Consumers for Cable Choice, Inc.

Web site:

Copyright 2005, PRNewswire
Copyright 2005, InterestAlert

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