WORCESTER, MA – Worcester City Manager Eric Batista and Mayor Joe Petty sent a letter in response to a recent Spectrum announcement it will raise its Broadcast TV Surcharge by $1 per month and its monthly Internet cost by $5. The letter is addressed to Spectrum Area Vice President, Field Operations Michael Liccione.
Spectrum’s current license to provide cable television services in Worcester expires in October. Spectrum is the brand name for cable television, internet, and home and mobile telephone services provided by Charter Communications.
Spectrum representatives told the City of Worcester Cable Television Advisory Committee in June that its Worcester license is its most profitable in New England and one of its ten most profitable in the U.S. The move to increase fees is one a series of five such increase over the last 18 months. Spectrum has refused to provide an itemized breakdown of the fees and cost of each channel.
The letter says that residents deserve “full transparency into what they are paying for.” The final sentence of the letter says, “The deterioration in customer service and respect experienced by our residents over the last several years is dismaying, and we expect that it will improve before our next contract is finalized.”
The letter signals a different perspective than Batista indicated on Talk of the Commonwealth with Hank Stolz earlier this year, when he said that the contract would ‘certainly’ be renewed. In July, Batista told Manny Alvarado of Manny Jae Media that, ”Denying the license is on the table.”
Spectrum representatives have not issued a response.
John Edward Keough, a member of the Cable Television Advisory Committee, expressed both surprise and excitement after having read the letter. “I think this letter is a good first step to equip the Cable Television Advisory Committee as we continue our study of the issues that must be negotiated. I congratulate the mayor and the city manager for putting the interests of the people of Worcester at the forefront of their communication with a company that has been a poor partner for decades.”
Editor’s Note: Keough is also a contributor to This Week in Worcester