N.J. Gov. McGreevey, Cable Critic, Resigns

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New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey, who resigned Thursday effective Nov. 15 amid a sex scandal, pushed his Trenton administration to impose tougher customer-service standards on cable companies in the state.

Last October, in a move endorsed by Democrat McGreevey, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities adopted five measures designed to protect the state’s 2.5 million cable customers.

One regulation required cable-company employees to answer customer calls within 30 seconds. Another required cable companies to provide subscribers -- either on their bills or in a separate insert -- with a listing of all services offered and the price of each service.

The state also ordered cable companies to reduce their service-call windows from six hours to four hours and to give consumers second disconnect notices if the cable company failed to shut off service during the first notice’s 30-day warning period.

Lastly, the state said, cable companies that gave credits for outages that lasted at least six hours had to do so for outages lasting at least three hours.

“Cable customers have waited too long for relief from their complaints with cable companies. These rules make concrete changes that will mean better service from cable companies and less aggravation waiting for a technician to arrive when you have to be at work,” McGreevey said in an October 2003 statement.

New Jersey’s Office of Cable Television has repeatedly criticized decisions by the Federal Communication Commission’s Media Bureau.

In May, McGreevey said he endorsed the board’s decision to fight the FCC’s decision to deregulate basic rates for 200,000 subscribers served by Cablevision Systems Corp.

Last month, the board filed comments with the commission endorsing the position that cable companies should provide consumers with more a la carte programming.

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