Miramar allows opt-out provision

MIRAMAR--Like an antsy television watcher with a remote control, the city has once again switched its position on its new cable ordinance.
At issue: a change that allows homeowners associations in new developments to opt out of long-term cable contracts signed by their developers.

Comcast and Telemedia, the two cable providers in Miramar, fought this provision when it was first voted on, saying it could give satellite providers an unfair advantage and violate their franchise agreements.


Initially, commissioners agreed to remove it from a proposed ordinance and instead make it part of the land-use code. But this month, they passed the provision when they took a final vote on the bill.

"It's totally unfair for a developer to negotiate a 15-year contract and stick it to people who don't want it and don't have the money to pay for it," said Commissioner Fitzroy Salesman, who pushed for the opt-out provision.

A representative from Telemedia cautioned that residents could face higher prices because long-term contracts are discounted.
Under the ordinance, which is effective immediately, associations have 12 months after they take over from a developer to consider other cable options.

Under there provisions in the ordinance, cable companies must be available to receive complaints 24 hours a day, and answer all routine calls within four rings at least 90 percent of the time. Cable workers also must wear identification and notify homeowners when they will be on their property.
Nora Jacome, president of the Huntington Homeowners Association, told the commission the bill could prevent some problems residents are dealing with currently. She said the cable company serving her area put its big boxes on some homeowners' property without notifying them.


(source) Sun Sentinel (Georgia East) 3-27-05