Saturday, February 03, 2007
Unhappy Time Warner customers urged to call Olver
Time-Warner cable's Albany regional management is under fire from Berkshire County officials in Western Massachusetts after they laid plans to remove a Boston television station from the region's cable
lineup and replace it with another network affiliate from Connecticut. The issue is important because Western Mass. is largely served by the Albany, N.Y., media market and the county's approximately 130,000 residents often hear more news about New York government than that of their home state. U.S. Rep. John W. Olver, D-Mass., is also monitoring the situation.
ORIGINAL URL: http://www.thetranscript.com/localnews/ci_5143410
Unhappy Time Warner customers urged to call Olver
By Jennifer Huberdeau
The North Adams Transcript
POSTED: Feb. 2, 2007 11:09 a.m.
NORTH ADAMS -- U.S. Rep. John Olver's district office in Pittsfield has
received several dozen complaints about Time Warner Cable and the
congressman wants the calls to keep on coming.
"In the past week, we've received 30 or so calls at our district office,"
Sara Burch, Olver's press secretary, said on Thursday. "That's a lot of
calls for us on a single issue. The congressman is encouraging that people
continue to call. We're taking down people's personal information and
their concerns to pass them along to him."
The number is (413) 442-0946.
City Council President Gailanne M. Cariddi said she and Councilor Marie T.
Harpin have been in contact with Time Warner and have invited Peter
Taubkin, vice president of government relations and public affairs, to
appear before the council on Feb. 13, and also on the two councilors'
public access call-in show.
While Olver has yet to weigh in on the on-going fight between Mayor John
Barrett III and Time Warner Cable executives over a potential move of
C-SPAN and classified-ad Channel 22 to a higher-priced cable package,
Burch said he is monitoring the situation.
"He has given our offices explicit instructions to pass along these
complaints," she said. "He wants to gauge the needs of the area."
Burch said the congressman is concerned that C-SPAN would be moved out of
the basic service tier.
"He believes that every cable subscriber should have access to C-SPAN or
any public service station," she said. "He believes that everyone should
have access to any channel that provides government information."
The mayor said on Wednesday that he is disappointed that Olver's response
has not been stronger.
"Olver is part of the legislative body that gave unlimited power to the
Federal Communications Commission," he said. "Somebody's dropping the
ball. There's a lot of irate people here in Berkshire County. If
(Congress) lets this continue, then they're all in denial . denial that
this is a problem nationwide. I guess it's not a sexy issue."
Barrett said he is disgusted by the fact that Congress has "let the FCC
run rampant" and basically "be run by the cable company."
While Burch could not comment on the city's specific contract with Time
Warner, she did say Olver fully supports the rights of towns and cities to
have a say over their cable channels.
Cariddi said she fears there might not be anything the city can do about
the cable company's move of C-SPAN to the standard service level.
"I've been in contact with C-SPAN and what they've indicated is that
throughout the country, C-SPAN is primarily in the standard service
package," she said. "They also have a good working relationship with the
Albany (N.Y.) office and were already told about the move. Unfortunately,
they said they cannot do anything about it."
Cariddi also believes that Time Warner has not made a promise to keep
Boston Channel WBZ 4 on a permanent basis.
"(Taubkin) did not indicate that it would stay," she said. "He used the
term 'stay where it is for now.' The rest of the county doesn't have WBZ,
maybe we should try to get the rest of the county to request Channel 4."
She said the county needs more than one Boston channel because WBZ offers
a "different point of view" than Channel 5 and sometimes different news
Taubkin has yet to confirm that he will attend either the council meeting
or appear on a public access call-in show.
"We've done (the call-in show) two or three times in the past with
Adelphia and it was pretty successful," Cariddi said. "We've encouraged
him to bring a technician with him to explain the more technical aspects.
Sometimes Adelphia's technician would get more questions than the
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