WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT POOR CABLE/INTERNET SERVICE IN CUMBERLAND CO

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There has been an ongoing feud between some cable providers and Cumberland County citizens for some time.  All anyone has to do is read Facebook posts to know that many customers are put out with poor cable and internet service from at least two providers in the county, Spirit Broadband and Frontier.  County government has been in a legal battle for a few years with Spirit Broadband in attempting to recover thousands in county franchise fees the County claims Spirit failed to pay over the years.  There was even a law suit by the county. Unfortunately that suit hasn’t gained much traction.  Aside from past due franchise fees, many of Spirit Broadband customers claim their service is very poor – many outages, slow connection, no local service when asked for to name a few. Well as it turns out, there’s almost nothing customers can do about it.  According to County Mayor Kenny Carey Jr., Spirit has applied for a franchise for cable service in the county. Now understand, Spirit has been operating for many years already in parts of the county – without a franchise agreement.    In a letter from the mayor to county commissioners, Mayor Carey wrote that he had been in talks with the Tennessee Public Utility Commission (TPUC) on the matter discussing at length the issues the county has with the company and the fact that customers have been dissatisfied with service from Spirit Broadband for years. TPUC stated that the law did not allow them to deny Spirit a franchise agreement but they did advise that the County would receive franchise fees going forward. They also told the mayor that they could not aid the county in getting any past franchise fees owed the County but they would deal with any customer complaints directed at the service. Here is the number to call: John Hutton at 615 -770-6889 (Telecommunications Consultant with TN. Public Utility Commission).  Years ago it was up to each county to issue cable franchise agreements to companies – and the County would have some governing control over the cable company.  However, the law has changed and now cable providers just need to get a franchise contract with the state for whatever county they want to build in. Counties no long have any control.  It’s doubtful the state will excercise any control either.  About the only alternative is to investigate other providers that may run a line near your property such as Spectrum (formerly Charter) or Comcast (northern part of the county) or even a satellite internet provider such as HughesNet and Dish Network or DirectTV for television programming.