How can I get the cable company to ease on down the road?
August 20, 2010 10:51 AM   Subscribe

Is there anything I can do to attempt to persuade the cable company (Charter in my case) to run service to my house?

My family is building a new house outside the city limits of a city about 20 minutes outside St. Louis. The cable company here is Charter and the house at the bottom of the hill has cable service. There is one house on that side of the street that is big and set off from the road. On the opposite side of the street, there is about a 400 foot gap with no houses, then houses start up again with 2 houses then our house, all of which are about 150-200 ft apart. All 3 of these houses are up on the road pretty much.

When I called charter's toll free support number, I end up talking to a normal desk support person who just tells me that they will go 250 ft to extend service and that I should talk to my neighbors.

I talked to the 2 houses up the street from me. The one closest to the house with service really wants cable and has been asking them every year for like 4 years with no luck. The other one has satellite service and is not interested. The house past ours would be interested if the price were decent and the house after that may also be interested.

Does anyone know what the best path for me to take is in order for me to get cable at my new house? I've called them 3 times now with no luck. I cannot find a number that is local to me. My next step is to go down in person, but I don't know how to get past the frontline support person to someone who might actually be able to help me.

The DSL here is 1.2M down and 320k up on the speed test thing I checked. That's not good enough since I work out of the home. We also have Tivos that work with cable that have lifetime service that we'd prefer not to just go to OTA.

posted by cmm to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
Find the number to their executive offices, call them. You'll speak to a team that will find you a person who will give you an answer in many cases.
posted by inturnaround at 11:32 AM on August 20, 2010

Cable operators have franchise agreements with the localities they sell service in - typically by county. I think this would be the situation for you, since you're outside a city limit.

Contact someone at the local cable franchise office (this would be a governmental thing, not a corporate thing, typically) and ask what the responsibility of the operator is in your situation; it may be much more than they are 'fessing up to over the phone.
posted by contessa at 12:10 PM on August 20, 2010

That's not good enough since I work out of the home.

If you're treating internet access as a business expense, you might want to talk to their business sales division as well as the executive office, and try and establish a contact with an individual sales manager so that you can sidestep the standard support hierarchy. From experience, that side of Charter seems much more attuned to personal relationships -- at least until you sign the contract.
posted by holgate at 12:58 PM on August 20, 2010

Best answer: I've seen quite a few posts on the message boards at DSLReports (not just for DSL!) about this kind of thing. You might get an answer from a tech there. I have seen quite high price quotes though, if they have to do a lot of work or put a new box of equipment in.
posted by smackfu at 4:39 PM on August 20, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the pointer to DSL Reports, smackfu. I posted over there. We'll see what happens!

I couldn't find a Cable Franchise Office for my county or city.
posted by cmm at 5:35 PM on August 20, 2010

My town board itself is responsible for the cable franchise in my town. Check with your local government, not just a separate board. Contessa is spot on that as part of getting the franchise, even if it is not exclusive, they have to agree to all sorts of things including treating all members of the community the same and maybe even spending money on infrastructure that does not exist.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 5:52 PM on August 20, 2010

Mostly, they're concerned about the cost of running a line as compared to the income they'd receive. Most places I've heard of will install service as long as your within x ft (250 in your case) for free/their standard install price, otherwise they'd want you to cover the cost of $y/ft to make it worth their while. Is this an option for you?
posted by Brian Puccio at 12:33 AM on August 21, 2010

cable doesn't have to provide service where you are. you may be able to pay them, but it'll probably cost quite a bit...return on investment. your phone company may be able to provide higher download/upload streams for a higher cost. i know they have DSL-Pro in some areas that is a higher speed. but the cable company won't have to spend an inordinate amount of money to provide you service. there are state tariffs in regards to this. who is your local phone company? check with them for higher download speeds and the costs.
posted by swmobill at 7:59 AM on August 21, 2010

Response by poster: The DSL Reports forum got me hooked up with the people I needed to talk to. Thanks so smackfu.

High price quotes was also dead on unfortunately. Even if we split it with all the neighbors, it's still a large chunk of change for the right to pay Charter a lot of money every month.
posted by cmm at 12:08 PM on August 27, 2010

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