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iBerkshires.com Columnist Section

Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Wanted: WBZ

Sue Bush
12:00AM / Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The anticipated WBZ removal from the Time-Warner cable company's Northern Berkshire channel line-up drew an intense, displeased reaction from North Adams Mayor John Barrett III and we at iberkshires.com can empathize.

The Time-Warner spokesman noted that the Boston channel will be replaced with a channel out of Hartford, Conn. and another out of Springfield. Let us know what you think by using the "comments" section at the bottom of this page.

Do you want your WBZ?

Don't be shy - but please don't be vulgar or crude, or your comment won't post.

Those who have concerns, complaints, and comments about any aspect of cable-company operations and business practices are encouraged to call the Federal Communications Commission Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at 1-888-225-5322, for TTY 1-888-835-5322, or to fax a comment, 1-866-418-0232.

The WBZ issue represents something more, we think, that what appears on the surface. The issue is that cable companies, including former Berkshire lone service provider Adelphia and Bennington County's [Vermont] newest, and also lone, cable service provider ComCast, make decisions that affect their customers financially as well as from an in-home entertainment perspective without ever considering the customer.

And company convenience and profits are why Western Massachusetts communities are included as part of a New York district office and service area. Ultimate control afforded to cable companies by the FCC and those elected to Congress are why there is no consumer say in the matter.

Cable companies have always been permitted to charge in advance for their services, something that has never, ever made sense. Employers do not pay February employee wages in January, consumers do not pay March electric bills in February, and it has always defied reason why the cable companies can not only charge in advance, but may be charging up to two months ahead of service.

Congress has much power at its' disposal and do not let our elected officials off the hook:

U.S. Congressman John Olver's Pittsfield office telephone number is 413-442-0946, Olver's Holyoke office number is 413-532-7010, and his Washington, D.C. number is 202-225-5335.

U.S. Congressman Edward Markey's Framingham office number is 508-875-2900, his Medford number is 781-396-2900, and his Washington D.C. number is 202-225-2836.

U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy's Boston office number is 617-565-3170, his Washington D.C. office number is 202-224-4543.

U.S. Senator John Kerry's Springfield office number is 413-747-3942, his Boston office number is 617-565-8519, and his Washington, D.C. office number is 202-224-0214.

We wanted very badly to post a number that would permit calls to the folks at Time-Warner, unfortunately, the only number that could located, 1-866-321-22253, was tried time and time again without any success. A taped message repeatedly stated that due to high caller volume, the call could not be accepted. The recorded voice encouraged me to try my call again later. Attempts to contact Time-warner at this number may be frustrating.

Williamstown Town Manager Peter Fohlin exposed a rather shady local Adelphia connection billing practice about four years ago, and the matter was corrected. But it took action on Fohlin's part, and more than a little risk of being considered a bit over-zealous, to get the situation corrected.

He persevered, he prevailed, and inappropriate - dare we say illegal?- charges for additional in-home cable connections disappeared from local Adelphia cable bills.

Barrett is correct when he points to the monopoly-like nature of these businesses. He is also correct when he recognizes that the Northern Berkshire population is made up of working-class folks who enjoy evening television. Many of the area's residents are older, retired individuals who exist on fixed incomes, who are struggling with costs that rise and incomes that do not, and who do find their daily diversions on "the tube."

We also encourage folks to investigate other television options. The Dish Network folks may be contacted at 1-888-825-2357 or online at a www.dishnetwork.com Internet web site.

Direct TV may be called at 1-888-777=2454 or at a www.directv.com Internet web site.

Those interested in information about Verizon's FIOs television services may go to a www22.verizon.com Internet web site and select FIOs TV options. For those who may be interested in the service but find that they do not live in an area offering the service, contact the FCC and elected members of Congress and encourage expansion of the services.
Your Comments
Post Comment
Name the last time WBZ 4 was in North Adams to cover a story. Except for the Pats games hey are of no use to us. They do not cover.report news west of 495, even their weathercasters stand in front of the Berkshires on the map, Maine and Rhode Island are covered in greater detail than us.
from: anonymouson: 01-30 00:00:00-2007

I think what TW is trying to do is phase out the North Adams "Head End", so they only have to send the signals from Pittsfield, which I suppose makes sense from a logistical/technical standpoint, but does not explain why anybody in Berkshire County would need or want Hartford-based WFSB. At least consider giving us the pseudo-WFSB simulcast, WSHM-LP, which has Springfield/Mass newscast. As for phasing out all of these channels- how about rebuilding the system to a state-of-the-art modern one. That would eliminate all of the bandwidth issues and we could actually have a modern system with hundreds of channels, as well as commonplace (in the Modern world)features like "On Demand" PPV.
from: Tim C -Adamson: 01-26 00:00:00-2007

If these changes will bring more HDTV stations to the area specifically the locals(ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS) then I am all for it, and don't think the mayor should stop it. Some people have been waiting a long time for them.
from: anonymouson: 01-26 00:00:00-2007

People need to start standing up to the Time Warner's of the world. Not only do they keep increasing our rates, but they are trying to take away some staple channels. Everyone should call Time Warner and let them know that they will face a financial hit of they continue to do this. It's about time somebody took them on.
from: Bill in North Adamson: 01-26 00:00:00-2007


 
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