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City of Lincoln
Mayor's Office

2007 Media Releases


Date:
June 21, 2007
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831


MAYOR BEUTLER PROPOSES NEGOTIATION WITH TIME WARNER

Mayor Chris Beutler today proposed that the City and Time Warner Cable seek a neutral third party to negotiate a solution to the issues raised in a recent performance evaluation of the Cityís cable television service provider.

"Itís time for resolution. Itís time for reconciliation," said Mayor Beutler. &quto;Time Warner has a responsibility to resolve this issue with consumers. Consumers have a responsibility to ask for reasonable terms. The cable franchise agreement gives city government the responsibility to find a solution that treats both consumers and Time Warner fairly."

In response to customer complaints, the City Council in March passed a resolution introduced by Councilman Jonathan Cook calling on the Cable Advisory Board (CAB) to conduct a performance evaluation of Time Warner Cable. Many of the complaints came from digital cable subscribers concerning the replacement of Passport, a contracted channel guide, with Navigator, a guide created by Time Warner.

In its final report to the Council, the CAB concluded that Time Warner &quto;beta tested" the Navigator software on the Lincoln market without following commonly accepted industry practice. The CAB concluded that Lincoln Navigator users received sub standard service as a result and made the following recommendations:

  • Time Warner should more clearly explain the complaint process on its Web site.
  • Time Warner and the City should adopt a subscriber bill of rights.
  • Time Warner should, on a quarterly basis, report to the City on all forms of complaints, oral and e-mail, as well as written ones.
  • Time Warner should establish a policy for major software releases to insure that Lincoln customers are not again used for testing without adequate notice and compensation.
  • Due to degraded service, Time Warner should provide a rebate of 35 percent of each digital cable television subscriberís bill from the time Navigator was installed through April 30, 2007.
  • Time Warner should give digital subscribers a choice between Passport and Navigator, if technically feasible.
  • The City Council should consider exercising its subpoena power if more information is needed from Time Warner to further review this matter.

Beutler thanked CAB members for their service to the community and said their report can serve as a starting point for negotiations.

"We know the issues. We understand the concerns. It is now time for action," said Beutler. "Time Warnerís cable franchise agreement has granted them an enormous competitive advantage. City government has a responsibility to use its best efforts to ensure that the service resulting from that advantage is to the benefit of the community. In the case of Navigator, a service was promised. A service, in many cases, was inadequately delivered. A deal is a deal."

Beutler also emphasized the need to treat Time Warner fairly. "Time Warner and its employees are our neighbors and friends. We want Time Warner to succeed in our community. We must work together with Time Warner to protect the interests of cable subscribers."

The City Council will discuss the CAB report in a pre-council meeting at 4:15 p.m. Monday, June 25 in Room 113 at the County-City Building, 555 South 10th Street. The complete CAB report is available on the City Web site at lincoln.ne.gov.


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