QA, At­lantic Broad­band ne­go­ti­ate new con­tract

Record Observer - - News -

CEN­TRE­VILLE — Af­ter long and ar­du­ous ne­go­ti­a­tions Queen Anne’s County and At­lantic Broad­band have a new con­tract that will be ready for the com­mis­sion­ers to sign at their next meet­ing.

Co­hen Law Group and a County Fran­chise Com­mit­tee, made up of Me­gan DelGau­dio, IT manger; Faith El­liott-Ross­ing, di­rec­tor of Com­mu­nity Af­fairs; Ge­orge Har­vey, QACTV di­rec­tor; and Gregg Todd, county ad­min­is­tra­tor; have been hash­ing out this new agree­ment that brings ben­e­fits to cus­tomers, and also does not pro­hibit any other ca­ble com­pany from op­er­at­ing in the county if they so choose.

The band­width of to­day’s ca­ble sys­tem is 625 MHz.

“Af­ter much ne­go­ti­a­tion with the ABB fran­chise team on this is­sue, we are pleased to re­port that the com­pany com­mit­ted to up­grade the ca­ble sys­tem in the county to a min­i­mum band­width of 750 MHz within 48 months of the ef­fec­tive date of the agree­ment,” said Daniel S. Co­hen in the Ex­ec­u­tive Sum­mary of Ca­ble Fran­chise Agree­ment with At­lantic Broad­band. “The up­grade must in­clude ad­di­tional fiber op­tic ca­ble and new active elec­tron­ics. In dis­cus­sions with ABB rep­re­sen­ta­tives, they noted that ex­ist­ing am­pli­fiers will be to­tally re­placed, that ad­di­tional nodes will be added, and that they ex­pected the ul­ti­mate band­width of the sys­tem to be higher than 750 MHz.”

Dur­ing the first 10-year con­tract with ABB, the county re­ceived about $45,000 for PEG chan­nel sup­port. The new agree­ment calls for the county to be paid $525,600 for this sup­port over the next 10 years, said Co­hen.

The com­pli­men­tary services ABB gives to se­nior cen­ters, vol­un­teer fire com­pa­nies, schools and sev­eral county of­fice build­ings, a value of about $60,000 will con­tinue, Co­hen said.

El­liott Ross­ing said she is pleased with the agree­ment in that QACTV, the county’s PEG chan­nel (Pub­lic, Ed­u­ca­tional and Gov­ern­men­tal), will be up­graded to high def­i­ni­tion within 48 months and a sec­ond PEG chan­nel will be made avail­able at the county’s re­quest.

CBG, the County’s Fran­chise Agree­ment con­sul­tant, polled the county and were able to gen­er­ate a list of customer ser­vice is­sues that ci­ti­zens wanted ad­dressed.

“The level of customer ser­vice pro­vided by At­lantic Broad­band has been an im­por­tant is­sue for the county,” Co­hen said. “It has re­ceived com­plaints from res­i­dents re­gard­ing customer ser­vice prob­lems and, there­fore, the new agree­ment es­tab­lishes a set of com­pre­hen­sive and quan­tifi­able customer ser­vice stan­dards that may be en­forced if nec­es­sary against the ca­ble op­er­a­tor. Th­ese stan­dards adopt the rel­e­vant rec­om­men­da­tions of the FCC and add sig­nif­i­cant ad­di­tional re­quire­ments.”

The customer ser­vice stan­dards in the Fran­chise Agree­ment in­clude, but are not lim­ited to, the fol­low­ing:

• Tele­phone an­swer­ing time lim­its for ca­ble op­er­a­tor customer ser­vice rep­re­sen­ta­tives, in­clud­ing the duty to mea­sure com­pli­ance with the stan­dards af­ter re­ceiv­ing sub­scriber com­plaints.

• Time lim­its for com­menc­ing in­stal­la­tion, ser­vice in­ter­rup­tion, and re­pair work, in­clud­ing lim­its on tech­ni­cians can­cel­ing ap­point­ments with sub­scribers.

• A four-hour “ap­point­ment win­dow” for ser­vice calls.

• Re­quire­ments for no­tices to sub­scribers.

• Billing re­quire­ments, in­clud­ing a pro­hi­bi­tion against late fees be­gin as­sessed fewer than 30 days af­ter the mail­ing of a bill.

• Customer com­plaint pro­ce­dures for both cus­tomers and the county as well as a re­quire­ment that ABB pro­vide up­dated con­tact in­for­ma­tion, in­clud­ing email ad­dresses, in or­der to re­port customer com­plaints.

• Re­quire­ments to be met prior to dis­con­nect­ing ser­vice.

• Cred­its for ser vice in­ter­rup­tions of 12 or more hours upon re­quest.

• Stan­dards of sub­scriber pri­vacy.

As for ad­dress­ing the un­der­served ar­eas of the county, the old con­tract called for ABB to pro­vide ca­ble ser­vice in ar­eas where there were at least 25 homes per lin­ear mile. That fig­ure was ne­go­ti­ated to 20 homes per lin­ear mile, a 20 per­cent im­prove­ment.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.