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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Jetbroadband exec apologizes to town
Cable company failed to formally notify council of rate increases, changes

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

By JOEL TURNER - Staff Writer

A top executive with Jetbroadband apologized to Rocky Mount Town Council Monday night for failing to notify the council of the recent increase in cable television rates in the town.

"I dropped the ball. I should have given council formal notice of the rate increase," said John Brinker, vice president of operations for Jetbroadband.

Brinker was peppered with questions from town council members about recent changes in the cable system's channel lineup and the rate increase.

Jetbroadband is supposed to give the town and cable customers 30 days advance notice of rate increases and other changes in service.

Mayor Steve Angle said he has received more than 40 phone calls from town residents who complained they were not notified ahead of time about the change in the channel lineup and the rate increase.

Brinker said the cable company sent notices in the monthly bills, but Angle said he didn't receive any notice.

"We don't take these complaints lightly. We are here to work with you," Brinker told council members.

Rocky Mount got a new cable television company last year, Jetbroadband, but town residents are voicing some of the same complaints about the new company as they did about the prior cable company, Suddenlink.

Town Manager James Ervin said the town has received similar complaints from cable customers about the rate increase and channel lineup change.

Town Council voted last June to approve the transfer of the town's cable television franchise from Suddenlink to Jetbroadband.

Suddenlink, the prior cable company in Rocky Mount that was often the focus of complaints by town council member and customers, was sold to Jetbroadband in 2007.

Brinker told town council that Jetbroadband inherited "lots of problems" from Suddenlink.

Jetbroadband, a high-speed access and cable programming company, is based in Rustburg. The company serves cable customers in Bedford, Wytheville, Appomattox, Campbell and Nottoway.

Last year, Brinker assured town council members that Jetbroadband hoped to avoid a repeat of the problems that occurred when Suddenlink took over the cable system.

Brinker said Jetbroadband has made many improvements since taking over Rocky Mount's cable television system. He assured town council members that the company will try to address the complaints and prevent problems from reoccurring.

"I hope we don't have to have this conversation again," Angle told Brinker.

Town council asked Brinker to attend the Monday night meeting to answer questions about the complaints.

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