Fayette County

Lexington to Spectrum: You have 30 days to fix problems or fines could follow

Spectrum will have 30 days to address alleged violations of the city’s cable franchise agreement under a resolution the Lexington council plans to consider Thursday.

Some of those alleged violations include failing to allow customers to speak to supervisors, charging people for cable channels or services they did not request, and not allowing people to return equipment by mail.

The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council voted to put the resolution on its Thursday agenda after meeting behind closed doors during a Tuesday council work session.

General Services Commissioner Geoff Reed said the franchise agreement requires the city to give Spectrum and its parent company, Charter Communications, 30 days to respond to alleged violations of the agreement. If the city determines those alleged violations have not been addressed, the council can require an administrative hearing and fines could be levied against the cable giant.

The maximum fine allowed under the 2014 cable franchise agreement is $500 per day per violation.

“Because of the volume of complaints we have received, we have decided to go forward with this next step,” Reed said.

The city and Spectrum have been at loggerheads since Spectrum took over the city’s franchise agreement earlier this year when it purchased Time Warner Cable.

Roger Daman, a senior administrator who oversees the city’s cable complaints, has previously said the city saw a dramatic spike in complaints once Spectrum took over cable services in Lexington.

Federal communications laws give the city little leverage with cable companies. For example, the city has no say over rate increases, Daman said.

Reed said the cable franchise agreement also does not cover internet services.

The city held a public performance evaluation of Specturm in August, when hundreds of people aired their complaints. Spectrum officials also attended that meeting. That public meeting was set after the city sent the cable giant several letters demanding changes to customer service practices after getting repeated complaints from Fayette County residents that problems were not being addressed.

Beth Musgrave: 859-231-3205, @HLCityhall