Elburn could ticket cable company for poor service

By on November 26, 2009

by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—A recent village survey indicated that many Elburn residents want Mediacom and any other future cable provider to be more accountable for incidents of substandard service. To ensure that, village officials might issue tickets to the company when it violates the franchise contract.

That proposed change to the village cable ordinance would allow the village to issue the service provider tickets bearing fines of up to $100. The village would send the cable company a ticket after a resident filled out a complaint form.

The benefit of the ordinance change would be two-fold.

“The village could make money, and residents would be happier,” Assistant village Administrator David Morrison said during Monday’s Development Committee meeting.

Elburn officials plan to revise the village’s cable ordinance before renewing Mediacom’s contract this winter.

Under the current cable ordinance, if the service provider does not meet its contract terms, the village must send the company a notice of the violation and the company has 30 days to respond.

“It’s a very cumbersome process,” Assistant Village Administrator David Morrison said.

Village officials in recent weeks have proposed other changes to the cable ordinance: requiring the service provider to offer community and educational access channels, and requiring the company to offer service throughout Elburn, including less populated areas. Mediacom does not provide service to some areas of the village, including Blackberry Creek.

Village staff are incorporating the proposed changes into a new cable ordinance they expect will be ready for the Village Board to vote on in late December or early January.

Village to renew Mediacom contract
For the past 10 years, Mediacom has provided cable service under its contract with Elburn, which expires next year. A recent village survey indicated many residents are unhappy with their cable service from Mediacom. Village officials said they plan to renew the company’s franchise contract, however, because they have no other option. Village officials would like other cable providers to seek the franchise, but so far, none have.

AT&T has the state franchise for providing cable, but does not offer cable service in Elburn. Under a new law designed to boost competition in the industry, AT&T may offer cable and Internet service to any community, without requiring the municipality’s approval.