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Comcast Angry It Had to Pay a Pole Attachment Fee on Time or Get Disconnected

Phillip Dampier June 29, 2016 Comcast/Xfinity, Public Policy & Gov't, Rural Broadband 6 Comments
Comzilla

Comzilla

Comcast just felt for itself what can happen if their customers don’t pay their bills. They threaten to cut them off.

With just one day remaining before Duck River Electric Membership Corporation claimed it would rip Comcast’s equipment and wiring off its utility poles for non-payment of pole attachment fees, Comcast showed up with a check.

“To avoid an interruption of service, Comcast has once again agreed to pay Duck River significantly more than what is owed under our current contract, despite Duck River’s refusal to negotiate reasonable terms,” Alex Horwitz, vice president of public relations at Comcast, told Times-Free Press reporters.

Duck River officials dispute that and say Comcast was behind (again) on its pole attachment fee payments and is the only utility company complaining about the price.

duck river“Size-wise, they’re the Godzilla of telecommunications,” said Steve Oden, director of member services at the tiny electric co-op. “And we’re just a lowly electric co-op here in Middle Tennessee.”

Oden claimed he is treating Comcast exactly the same way they would treat their own customers.

“If you don’t pay your Comcast cable TV or internet bill, they’re going to do what?” The answer, Oden said, is they “cut you off.”

Comcast claimed in turn Duck River is using their position as a monopoly to gouge customers with high rates.

“Unfortunately, the utility has been unwilling to compromise and has billed Comcast for arbitrary pole rates that are nearly three times the national average,” said Horwitz.

Had Comcast not come up with a payment, Duck River was prepared to start removing Comcast’s wiring and equipment from its poles, and cut power to Comcast’s equipment, which would have killed service for about 7,000 Comcast customers.

The two are now talking (again) about securing a long-term contract that will stabilize pole attachment rates and keep Duck River’s local power co-op from having to make collection calls in the future.

Currently there are 6 comments on this Article:

  1. Lee says:

    Maybe a cost comparison is in order. Many of the holes to set those poles are probably drilled into solid rock in parts of Tennessee unlike setting them in dirt here in northern Indiana. Lets put the cost of the pole at $1000 and the cost of drilling the hole and setting the pole at $1000. So a total of $2000 and set the lifespan at 40 years. That is $50 per year which is 2.5% per year. If Comcast paid $20 per year that is 1%. I wonder what their modem-gateway-router-wifi costs them? $200? and say 10 year lifespan. That is $20 per year or 10%. And what are they charging their customers? Seems I remember Frontier is about $7 per month = $84 per year = 42%. Seems the electric company should crunch some numbers and inform the public about who is gouging you the most.

    • 213131 says:

      Well to be fair Duck River does charge an Arm and a leg for electric. My previous address had power thru duck river and I never saw an Electric bill lower than $240/Month. Same usage, same city, Different House, cost me $120/Month for everything (Gas, Water, Electric, Trash) just moving down a couple blocks.

      Now the rate they are charging comcast is cheap for what it is. Comcast will complain til the cost is lowered though.

      • Name says:

        Looked it up, and Duck River charges just over 9c/KWH. If that’s an arm and a leg, my electric rates are making me a quadriplegic.

        They do have a $24/mo basic service charge, which I can see being problematic for the most modest users, but I’d rather pay that than my current onerous tiered rates.

        http://www.dremc.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/DREMC-ResRateCalcSheetJuly2016.pdf

        • Len G says:

          10.4c/KW/h in Naples, Florida. And there are 2 nuke plants in S. Florida. Remember they used to say in the 50’s that nuclear power would be “too cheap to meter”?

          • Cameron says:

            Wow, you’ve got some cheap power. In northern California it’s around 25-35c/KW. That’s just extortion when your monthly bill is over $500.

  2. Len G says:

    “Comcast claimed in turn Duck River is using their position as a monopoly to gouge customers with high rates.”

    That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard in ages! Did Comcast hear themselves say it?

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