Council takes no action on Charter

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 21, 2002

The expected discussion over Charter Communications’ future in Suffolk didn’t materialize during Wednesday’s City Council meeting. Although Charter was discussed in executive session, the council did not take any action after reconvening into public session at 7 p.m.

The council initiated the revocation process this past June, citing that the cable company had not lived up to standards set forth in its settlement agreement with the city.

That agreement called for a $10 million, digital rebuild of the system to be finished by June 30, 2002. Also, Charter was to meet specific benchmarks throughout the rebuild.

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The council’s action to revoke the franchise gave Charter 60 days to fulfill all its obligations with the city, including payment of $340,000 in fines. That 60-day period ended Monday.

The company also had to show improvements in customer service, according to the settlement agreement.

Assistant City Manager Cindy Rohlf, the city official working on the cable project, said only payment the city has gotten from Charter was $15,000 last year.

Matt Favre, general manager of Charter, recently said the company agrees it owes and is willing to pay $145,000. The cable provider is challenging the remainder of the fines.

Rohlf said on Aug. 16 that Charter turned in documentation for the city to review. That information is now being reviewed up the city’s Washington, D.C.-based cable consultants. She expects the staff and consultants will make a recommendation on whether or not to proceed with the revocation in early September. The council will have to vote again to revoke the franchise if it continues on that path.