RCN Likes Mass. Standards, Sort Of

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Boston -- Overbuilder RCN Corp. of Boston has weighed infavorably on proposed statewide customer-service standards for Massachusetts videoproviders, but added it should be exempted from them.

In written testimony submitted to the state Department ofTelecommunications and Energy, RCN officials said their company, which competes primarilywith Cablevision Systems Corp., must meet or exceed proposed customer-service levels inorder to succeed. Indeed, the company, owned in part by Boston Edison, bases much of itsconsumer marketing on criticizing incumbent operators on their lack of customerresponsiveness.

But, the testimony said, a small operator will be unfairlyburdened by the regulations until it hits the 50,000-subscriber mark.

The state proposes customer-service standards that exceedthose now mandated by the National Cable Television Association and the FederalCommunications Commission. Among them are that a live operator answer the phone within 30seconds, 90 percent of the time; and that cable operators man phones around-the-clock.

The state's dominant cable operators, includingMediaOne and Time Warner Cable, testified on the proposal at an earlier hearing, arguingthe rules are burdensome and will raise costs.

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