Comcast Renewal Meeting Tonight

by ARLnow.com September 13, 2011 at 11:42 am 5,394 28 Comments

The ‘franchise agreement’ that allows Comcast to provide cable television services in Arlington County is up for renewal, and residents are being asked to share their thoughts on what services the company can provide as part of a new franchise agreement.

Currently, Comcast helps to equip Arlington County’s government access channel, the Arlington Virginia Network, and helps to fund Arlington Independent Media, the independently-run public access channel. It also provides the fiber optic network and internet access service used by Arlington County government and Arlington Public Schools.

At tonight’s meeting, residents are encouraged to “share your own comments on potential services that might be part of a new cable franchise agreement.”

The meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the County Board room at 2100 Clarendon Boulevard. The county-produced video, above, and the Comcast Cable Renewal Process page of the Arlington County website provide more information about the process.

  • RJ

    Why? Video cameras are cheap now ( I can film HD on my cell phone), and you can broadcast anything you want for pretty much nothing on the internet.

    • JimPB

      Could ArlCo post on YouTube “shows” of the length it now broadcasts on the Comcast provided channel, e.g., multi-hour county board meetings?

      Would there be a You Tube charge for ArlCo to post there the material it now broadcasts on its Comcast provided channel, e.g., county board meetings?

  • JimPB

    There’s no free-bees.

    How much less would Comcast charges be for customers if Comcast did not have the costs of providing two channels and cables for ArlCo government and ArlCoPSs? In other words, what are customers paying in fees for the two channels and for the cables?

    If not part of the access agreement with Comcast, what would the charges be for each of the two channels and the cables? (Could these be put out for bids?

    • So true..

      How about telling them to stop charging me a fortune? So called freebees aren’t free and probably aren’t helping. My Comcast bill has increased at a ridiculous rate. And they have the nerve to inundate me with reduced-price offers for new subscribers only.. apparently I’m also funding a large-scale marketing campaign to entice new fools. Never thought I’d get rid of cable but I’m about there.

      • Ballstonian

        Haven’t learned the trick. Keeping calling back till they reduce your bill. There’s always a deal to make with them, recently got my bill reduced by $60 a month after calling for about 2 weeks straight off-and-on. Finally got someone who was able to ‘get me a promotion’. Or a friend has told me go to Best Buy and talk to a physical rep, they usually can bring your bill back down to that new subscriber level. It’s a shell game, and squeaky wheel does get the grease in this case.

    • NPGMBR

      I betcha we pay a lot less for those two channels than we do for all those useless music channels that Comcast does not offer consumers the opportunity to opt out of.

  • dkuhn

    From a former subscriber’s point of view, they should be shut down. However, they provide excellent service to the schools and government. They need to provide tree trimming services to avoid downed lines. This would be in their interest and would reduce maintinance costs.

  • Southeast Jerome

    They also need to completely revamp their entire customer service and billing departments. And why does every phone call with them take at least an hour. I call because my on-demand doesn’t work and my next bill I have random added charges for a new installation.

    Comcast is by far the worst “company” I have ever dealt with. They get away with so much its a joke. They claim that all the mistakes are made by their “contractors” and not their actual employees. Do they even have any employees other than the people in the middle of Nebraska and Idaho that answer the phones?

    • Matt

      Agreed. Half the time I call their customer service line, I get hung-up on while going through the 5-10 minute automated motions. The other half, they want to send someone to my apartment and charge me $30 for the appointment. Naturally, things start working again before the time for the appointment, and it’s always something wrong on their end.

    • Ridiculous..

      I made a courtesy call to Comcast, explaining to the rep that I planned to switch my service to VIOS due to frustration with Comcast’s high costs and poor service. I noted that I had only 15 min available and would be happy to listen to any alternatives Comcast could offer to retain this longtime customer. Perhaps they had a plan I wasn’t aware of that would address my billing concern. She immediately connected me to another dept that could help me. After 16 min on hold, I finally hung up. Sorry, Comcast, my time and business are valuable too.

    • JimPB

      And it’s government, not a private company, that’s supposed to be costly and unresponsive.

      Maybe Comcast needs a government takeover to get its act together for better service, reduced costs and responsive service. The revamping could start with down paying (better yet replacing) Comcast’s CEO Brian Roberts to a SES government salary. His probably personally selected Board of Directors thinks the CEO is doing a terrific job. If NBC matches Comcast’s performance, the network is in for another but larger dive.
      The paste below is from a April 1st (no April Fool) Bloomberg news story:
      Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) Chief Executive Officer Brian Roberts received 14 percent more in compensation last year, earning $31.1 million as he led the company’s takeover of NBC Universal.
      Roberts earned $2.8 million in base salary, $11.2 million in stock and option awards and $10.9 million in cash bonuses, Comcast said today in a regulatory filing. Comcast also requires Roberts use company aircraft for personal travel for security reasons, which added $195,767 to his compensation.

    • Mr. Clarendon

      The hour wait on the phone is their first line of defense!

  • Orley

    How about $5 limited basic instead of $20? Since thanks to the lobbying by the cable providers, there basically isn’t any free over the air TV anymore? (Sure, if you buy an antenna and are OK with constant interruptions and scrambled pixels.)

  • G

    Those new HD channels we were supposed to get back in March still do not work. Really wish I could watch Comedy Central and MSNBC in HD.

  • Matt B

    Demand roll-out of their Xfinity Spectrum product line:

    And then make all of the local Arlington TV content on demand through Xfinity.

  • Don’t put up with crappy customer service. If you can wait a day, just file a complaint with the county here:


    I always get a callback from a MANAGER who handles any issue on my behalf. And I usually get a service credit.

  • Bender

    All you mere customers don’t count.

    If you are not government or part of a special interest group, you don’t get to extort goodies from Comcast.

  • I’d like to see Comcast offer Internet service on par with FiOS in terms of reliability and speed. Their implementation of DOCSIS 3.0 seems to be lagging behind. And of course we can expect that if Comcast competes here, Verizon will up their speeds. End result? Customers win.

  • OX4

    How about fixing this, Comcast.

    • BB

      I got that too last night. WTF?

  • bred

    Let me start by saying that I’m NOT a defender of Comcast nor do I work for the company. I’ve had plenty of problems with them – including contractor technicians (and some Comcast tech employees, too) who really don’t know what they are doing and the service folks on the telephone who don’t seem to have much of a clue, either. (Does “unplug your box for 30 seconds and then I’ll send you a signal which might correct your problem” sound familiar?) But that said, there are some very good people at Comcast who do want to help you. I even had one who told me how to complain on the company’s website (which I did) and within a day someone from corporate did call and I vented about 3 years of frustration.
    Now, if I understand correctly, the hearing on the renewal of the franchise agreement examines what Comcast has done since the previous franchise agreement and if there is anything which would prevent the county from extending the franchise. Customer service issues, though they may be brought up in public testimony, to my understanding, are NOT part of the county’s decision.
    And to a previous poster who would like a $5 basic package of channels instead of the $20, or whatever is now. One of the major costs for cable operators, which they pass onto the customers, is programming. Nearly every channel you see gets paid monthly from Comcast to be transmitted/retransmitted (in the case of over-the-air channels [e.g. channel 7]) on a cable system. The local channels get perhaps 5/10 cents per month and these fees range to a high of $4.00 for ESPN per subscriber and that’s just for the main ESPN channel – ESPN’s other feeds (e.g. ESPN 2 or ESPN News, etc.) have additional costs, though much less, to the cable system/subscriber. It doesn’t matter if you watch the channel or not, these fees are part of the cable bill.

    • G

      I wish one could subscribe to channels a la carte.

      • Ballstonian


  • MB

    Would be nice if Comcast would clean up their mess after their lines go down. Comcast power lines have been in the street for over a week.

  • 2Wheels2Go

    Switch to Verizon optical cable. Much better picture. Much better customer service. Once I switched, all the “ghosts” and lines I had seen for years on some channels disappeared.

  • Soarlslacker

    Thanks for all the comments. It is great to understand how customers view their vendors.
    We were recently considering Comcast for Internet service—no FIOS or any Verizon Internet offerings where we live. Since we have been thrilled with the service from Directv since 1998 for TV and have no plans to buy a bundle, we went with a Verizon 4G wireless card for our notebook pc. Being a new user, I have had to call Verizon a couple of times with questions. Version has been great—answering all my questions, explaining things to me and helping troubleshoot my set up errors. FYI—I suggest you go to a Verizon store (there is one in Pentagon city Mall) or call Verizon. Don’t buy this service from any 2nd or 3rd party retailer—our experience was that they did not know what they were selling, sold plans that were no longer offered, and failed to disclose all the fees.
    My impression of what Arl Cty and the board is interested in in a cableco provider is: “What do the county and the public schools get for free?” They appear in no way, shape, or form interested in–what county residents get, at what prices, and with what reliability? A number 6 ranking in the 2011 Customer Service Hall of Shame is nothing to brag about: http://money.msn.com/investing/the-2011-customer-service-hall-of-shame.aspx?cp-documentid=6821116 No cablecos were in the 2011 Customer Service Hall of Fame.

  • BB

    Anyone use DISH Network? They recently bought Blockbuster and they plan to offer Netflix-like streaming to go with their Satellite service.

  • Sarah

    Comcast is the worst !! They are slow, rude, and you have to go through about 100 different departments before you reach the right one. One of the worst business’s around period!


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