Sunday's cable outage sparks heat between Comcast, city officials

Published: Feb. 25, 2013 at 2:22 AM CST|Updated: Mar. 11, 2013 at 1:35 AM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - A spokesperson for Comcast says Sunday night's cable and internet outage in the greater Shreveport area was caused by a power surge.

But the incident, which occurred during on one of televisions biggest nights, Oscar night, generated enough concern for city officials to take renewed interest in the connection between Comcast and the City of Shreveport.

As the city tries to resolve its ongoing problems with the cable provider, the question remains as to whether city officials will cut ties with the cable provider.

The answer, according to KSLA's Adria Goins, is more than likely no.

Councilman Ron Webb says he does not see the city parting ways with Comcast because they have spent millions of dollars to bring cable to Shreveport.

However, the council does want answers as to why service is unstable. Webb has asked for a company spokesperson to appear before the council next month.

Comcast has promised to make several upgrades to its service during its six-year contract, Webb said. But the upgrades never happened. Now blackouts continue to cause problems for customers.

"We're not trying to run them out of town. I want them to provide a good service. I have everything that I own bundled with them, and I'm paying dearly for it. But I'm happy to have the service. But I just want to see those improvements. I have the same problems," Webb says.

The improvements, Webb says, include equipment upgrades that could eliminate some of the service interruptions.

Comcast explained Sunday night's disturbance this way:

"Comcast experienced a commercial power outage Sunday night.  We are investigating and indications are that a resulting power surge damaged the switch that transfers the headend operation to a generator.  We restored the majority of service within two hours and deeply regret the inconvenience to our customers."

The outage included internet, phone and cable for some customers. For others, only cable was affected. It happened on a big night for television, as many tried to tune in to watch the 85th Annual Academy Awards.

Webb says he contacted the cable company two weeks ago to ask the general manager to come to a council meeting to explain why the company has not completed upgrades and promises they made to the city when they started a working relationship six years ago. According to Smith, several improvements were made in Shreveport that were agreed upon.

It's not the first outage, however. In fact, city leaders say they have received numerous phone calls and emails complaining about Comcast service. The city itself is in the midst of deciding whether to negotiate a new franchise fee contract with the company. A 15-year contract with the City of Shreveport expired at the end of 2012. They are currently operating on a month-to-month basis.

Comcast representatives have been asked by the Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover and other city leaders to come before the council to discuss the contract, considering ongoing issues and concerns.

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