Cable subscribers will have slightly lower monthly rates, and refunds are also on the way.
Heeding the advice of professional consultants, the City Council voted unanimously this week to require Copley Colony cable television to reduce its monthly basic service fee from $10.67 to $10.58. The council's resolution directed the fee to be reduced within the next 60 days.
The council also voted to require the cable firm to make one-time-only refunds to subscribers allegedly overcharged during the past two years. Bill Marticorena, a consultant hired by the city, said subscribers will get refunds averaging about $16.
The City Council hired the cable consultants to review Copley Colony's charges. Federal law allows cities to regulate basic rates of cable television.
Copley Colony representative Jeff Davis told the council his company essentially agreed with most recommendations in the consultants' report. Davis said the 9-cent difference between Copley Colony's current charges and the figure recommended by the consultants stems from complicated federal rules "calculated over a long period."
Davis disagreed, however, with the consultants' recommendation that Copley Colony eliminate a $1.02 monthly charge attributed to a county tax. The consultants said the cable firm had not justified the fee. In rebuttal, Davis said that at least part of the county tax should be passed on to customers as a cable fee.
The council directed Copley Colony to provide more justification for the tax-based fee. Otherwise, that fee must be eliminated, council members said.