About the Office of Cable Communications
Established in 1976, the Office of Cable Communications (OCC) has overall responsibility for issues related to cable television and cable Internet service for Seattle residents. The Office oversees the City's non-exclusive cable television franchises with Comcast and Broadstripe through enforcement of the franchise agreements, with an emphasis on citizen concerns.
$1.99 Charge for Comcast DTA boxes
A recent King 5 story highlighted customer frustration with Comcast's decision to charge a monthly $1.99 fee for a DTA box. Comcast made this rate change effective July 1, 2013. Click here for that rate change notice.
While there is little regulatory authority to restrict cable companies from making price increases, they are required to give customers 30-days advance notice. Seattle customers should have been alerted to the DTA box fee change in June 2013.
Rate change notices are either inserted with, or added as notes to customer billing statements. It's important to read your bill each month to be sure you are aware of any upcoming rate changes. In fact, Comcast has announced a price increase to Limited Basic cable service effective October 1st. See below for more information.
Our office collects all complaints related to
cable services in Seattle. Please let us know about your cable experiences, or what you are thinking about price increases. It's easy to submit it on-line with our Cable Comment-
(CCC) Formor to call the Cable Line at (206) 684-8498.
Comcast changes 'Limited Cable' to 'Limited Basic' and increases rate to $17.90 Effective Oct 1, 2013
Comcast announced it will rename its 'Limited Cable' TV service to 'Limited Basic' and increase the price from $16.35 to $17.90. The changes are effective October 1, 2013. No other price adjustments are being made. You can view Comcast's most current Products and Services Price List click here.
Limited Cable is the lowest level TV service tier, and provides customers with access to over 70 television channels (20 in HD) and 22 digital FM radio stations. The channels include all local broadcast stations ( 4-KOMO, 5-KING, 7-KIRO, 9-KCTS, 10-KZJO, 11-KSTW, 13-KCPQ) plus all government, educational and public access and many other channels. It's a great, low cost cable TV option for many households. Click here to see a detailed channel listing for the Limited Basic TV service.
If you have questions on this current rate change or how it will impact your cable bill, contact Comcast at (800) 266-2278 or on-line at Comcast Customer Central.
Building Owners: Know Your Rights When Negotiating Long-Term Cable Service Contracts
Ken Fellman, nationally recognized expert in cable television franchising, transfers, renewals, and enforcement actions, speaks at our 2011 seminar "Know Your Rights When Negotiating Long-Term Cable Service Contracts." The event was designed to help owners of apartments and condominiums learn answers to questions like: Who really owns the wiring in your building? What happens when your current cable contract expires? Do you have to sign a long-term cable service agreement? Can you negotiate with the cable operator? What are your rights?
Click here to watch the seminar or to view the presentation materials. Click here to listen to a podcast.
CALM Act Tackles Loud Commercials
Effective December 2012, TV stations, cable operators, satellite TV providers or other multichannel video program distributors (MVPDs) are required to control the audio loudness of commercials, so that they have the same average volume as the programs they accompany. The requirement was adopted under the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act .
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) enforces the CALM Act and will rely on consumer complaints to monitor industry compliance with the rules. You may report commercials that seem louder than the programming they accompany to the FCC at any time by calling 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) or filing an on-line complaint. In order for the FCC to evaluate the complaint, they need the following information:
Note that the CALM Act only applies to commercials aired on television, and only pertains to commercials; it does not address loudness differences between programs or channels on a given station.
For a useful list FAQs on dealing with loud commercials and issues related to the CALM Act, visit the FCC Loud Commercials website.
Be a Smart Cable Customer ~ Get it in Writing!
In their effort to attract and keep customers, cable companies often have contracted sales agents canvassing neighborhoods or working at mall kiosks, marketing special promotional deals if you will join, change or bundle your service with them. If you decide to take one of these deals, make sure you get something in writing that confirms the rates, services and period of time the promotion covers.
The OCC has noticed an increasing number of complaints from cable customers who were promised one thing by a sales agent, but then billed something different. When the customer calls the company to correct their bill, they are told ‘we have no promotion like that’ and are left trying to prove what they were promised. If you have something in writing, it’s much easier to resolve the issue!
Seattle cable customers are also encouraged to be familiar with their rights under the City’s Cable Customer Bill of Rights.
Public Service Announcement Videos: