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Date published: 2/17/2002


That situation has improved somewhat, but reception generally remains nothing to brag about, and sometimes it's downright awful.

Other utilities need to apply
to the State Corporation Commission for rate increases and supply detailed support documentation. Though certain increases are allowed pending an SCC ruling, customers are given refunds when the SCC grants a lesser increase or denies it altogether.

When was the last time your cable company reduced rates or gave you a refund?

There is no such SCC watchdog for the cable companies. But there should be. The Spotsylvania Cable TV and Telecommunications Commission wants residents' detailed complaints about cable service. But while it can pass those complaints along, it doesn't have any real clout to get Adelphia to respond.

Consider also that an average
of seven people per day come to Spotsylvania County to live. Say that's two families. It's probably not seven individuals, but it could be. Many of them, if not most, will sign up for cable. Any way you look at it, that's a lot of new customers. Many of them will get that service with a flick of a switch. New homes will need to be wired. Once.

If the houses in an area are too far apart to fit a cable company's definition of "feasible," it won't provide service. Wouldn't the phone company or power company love that option?

The bottom line is that Adelphia keeps raising rates even though its expanding customer base keeps increasing its revenues. How expensive can it be to lay cable? And if the cost of programming is really rising as much as they'd have you believe, then they need a better negotiator.

And advertising. Cable promos are always telling us what a great deal it is to advertise on cable. Could it be that viewers are subsidizing it?

If they are continuously upgrading their technology--a boilerplate excuse at every rate increase--then they should offer me a check-off menu to order channels à la carte.

Perhaps companies such as Adelphia are spreading themselves too thin with other new technologies to offer good service in any one area.

Judging from the letters to the editor in this newspaper, there is displeasure with the Internet service and high-speed cable-modem service that Adelphia provides, not to mention regular old cable TV. They also offer long-distance phone service. Uh, no thanks.

Tacked onto my cable bill this month was a copy of Adelphia's "Customer Care Mission" statement. It was decorated with Valentine hearts and told me that I'm No. 1.


Cut my rates 30 percent, though, and we can even play footsy.

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