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Office of Cable Communications

Frequently Asked Questions


How do I contact my cable company?


You may reach Comcast by calling 1-800-266-2278.
You may reach Wave by calling 1-866-928-3123.

You may reach CenturyLink by calling 1-800-244-1111.

How to I resolve issues with my cable company?


First, contact your cable company at the number listed above. Be courteous and state the facts briefly, providing any additional information which supports your position.  It will be helpful if you have your account number, copies of bills, receipts, cancelled checks, letters, and company notices anything which supports your position.

When talking to your cable company, be sure to get the name of the people you talk with and keep copies of any correspondence from them. If you are sending a complaint by mail, do not send it with your bill and make sure you send it to the address listed on the top of the bill. Please do not send it to the City, as this will slow down any response.

Be very specific about what it is you are asking about. If you have more than one question or complaint, right them down so you cover them all. Also be specific about what it is you are asking your cable company to do: whether you are calling about a service call or a credit, tell them directly.

If you do not receive a satisfactory response, ask to speak with a supervisor. This is your right.  If you are still not satisfied, you may contact us at the Office of Cable Communications for assistance. You may email a complaint or call our hotline at 206-684-8498. Please be sure to include your name, the name of the person on the account, your telephone number on the account, and the address.  Describe the problem clearly.

My bill shows a "franchise fee." What is this?


The City of Seattle charges your cable company a franchise fee to use the public rights-of-way for private enterprise. In other words, the fee is 'rent' the company must pay the City for using the public space to conduct their business. The franchise fee is 4.4% of the companys gross revenue, and is used to support the Seattle Channel, community technology initiatives, the Citizens' Technology and Telecommunications Advisory Board, and this Office of Cable Communications.

What are the different cable services I can get in Seattle?


That depends on your cable company, although Wave, Comcast and CenturyLink provide the full range of television, telephone and high speed data (Internet) cable services. Both companies offer programming packages as well as pay-per-view opportunities.

Who regulates cable rates?


Basic Service Regulations*
The City of Seattle has limited authority to regulate the rate for basic cable service, installation, and service charges related to basic service, including the ability to review FCC rate filings by Comcast to ensure that the filings are prepared in accordance with FCC guidelines.

Basic cable service (called 'Limited Basic' by Comcast) is the lowest level of cable television service a subscriber can buy. It includes, at a minimum, all over-the-air television broadcast signals carried pursuant to the FCC must-carry rules, and any public, educational or government access channels required by the cable operator's franchise.

The City does not have the ability to regulate any other rates or the rate for WAVE due to their federal classification as a small cable operator.

*On June 2, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued an Order that would potentially remove the City's last remaining rate regulation authority.  The Order (see FCC Report and Order 15-62A1) describes the FCC's decision that it will now presume that all cable operators are subject to 'effective competition' from satellite TV providers and rate regulation over basic cable service is no longer necessary.  The Order will is not effective until approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).  As of 6/5/2015, OMB approval is still pending.

All Other Service Tiers

In accordance with federal cable law, the rates for any tier of service beyond the basic services tier, including pay-per-channel programming (i.e., a premium movie channel) and pay-per-program services (i.e., a pay-per-view sports event), are not regulated. Your cable company determines the rates charged for these services. However, your cable company may not require you to purchase any additional service tier other than the basic service tier in order to have access to pay-per-view events or premium channels offered on an "a la carte" or individual basis. There is no law that requires (or prohibits) cable companies to offer channels or programs on an "a la carte" basis.

For more information, see the FCC's guide on cable TV rates here


Are there discounts for senior citizens or disabled people?


Yes. Comcast provides a discount of approximately $5 off of the monthly rate for any tier of cable television service for low income seniors, low income disabled, and people living in non-Section 8 subsidized housing.

WAVE Broadband also provides provides a discount of approximately $5 off of the monthly rate for any tier of cable television service for low income seniors, low income disabled, and people living in non-Section 8 subsidized housing.

For more information regarding cable television discounts, you can contact:

Comcast Customers call 1-800-266-2278

WAVE Broadband Customers call 1-866-928-3123

CenturyLink Customers call 1-800-244-1111

Seattle residents can also contact our office at (206) 386-1989.  

Seniors interested in learning about other (non-cable) benefits in Seattle may also contact the Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens at (206) 684-0500.

Does Seattle have any consumer protection standards to help me with my cable company?


Yes. Seattle has the Cable Customer Bill of Rights (CCBOR), adopted in 1999, which established standards for cable companies and procedures and standards if those standards are not met.  Amended in 2002, the CCBOR specifies, for example, that if you don't get offered an installation or service appointment within one week, you are entitled to free installation or credit, depending upon the service provided. The complete CCBOR may be downloaded here. If you prefer, we can send you a copy.

Where can I pay my cable bill?


Please see the payment center page on this webiste for details on where to make cable service payments and drop off equipment. The City of Seattle does not accept cable payments or equipment.

What regulations govern cable television in Seattle?


The City of Seattle currently has franchise agreements with two cable companies, WAVE and Comcast.  To view their respective franchises, please go to the franchises webpage. The City's Cable Code (SMC Chapter 21.60) also provides regulations that govern cable television in Seattle.

Who should I contact if I have a complaint regarding a program on Seattle Community Media on Channel 23/77?


You may call the Seattle Community Media at 206-934-3966.

Public access provides citizens with a video "soapbox" to express themselves on whatever topic they choose, within a set of rules established by Seattle Community Media and applicable law. As long as the producer stays within these standards, the program can continue to be broadcast.

Because the program producer enjoys rights under the First Amendment to the Constitution, programs are not previewed before they are broadcast. Seattle Community Medias rules, however, establish a process for reviewing a program if and when a complaint is received. If you watch a program that you believe is objectionable, please contact Seattle Community Media at 206-934-3966 for information regarding how to file a complaint. Your written complaint will trigger a review process. If the program is found to be obscene, that finding may result in a suspension of broadcast privileges for the program producer.

The City is not authorized to review program content on Seattle Community Media, therefore, it is best to contact Seattle Community Media directly regarding issues concerning programs you find objectionable.

Can I block channels on my TV?


Yes, to block channels you do not want to watch, you may call your cable company and ask them to do it; use your converter box or remote "parent control feature," or use your TVs V-chip. Your cable company should be able to help you with this process.

How can I get cable information from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)?


The FCC's Media Bureau is responsible for matters related to cable television.  The FCC makes resource materials available on their web site at

Who regulates telephone services in the state of Washington ?


The Washington Utilities and Telecommunications Commission (WUTC) regulates telephone services in the state of Washington. You make contact them with questions or complaints by calling 1-800-562-6150 or by email at You may also go to the WUTC website at and click on "complaint form" on the right hand side of the WUTC home page.

Office of Cable Communications
Contact Us: (206) 684-8498 | Fax: (206) 684-0911