Simi Valley residents and the City Council have accused Comcast Cablevision of providing too little service for too much money.
"You've been cheating us," City Councilman Paul Miller said Monday. "You've been cheating us for a long time. It's time for you to stop and set up a situation that people can afford."
On Monday, council members and residents rebuffed Comcast's plans to increase its basic cable rates from $27.95 per month to $28.28.
The rates would have gone into effect next Monday, but, saying there were errors in a form Comcast provided to the FCC, the council directed the city manager to draft a letter asking the cable provider not to implement the new rates.
In a resolution approved unanimously, the council directed city staff to file a complaint with the FCC. The council also agreed to ask the FCC to regulate cable rates in Simi Valley "until effective competition becomes a reality."
Finally, the council voted to audit Comcast.
Council members said Comcast should provide a cheaper basic cable rate that does not necessarily include the 46 channels it currently provides in its basic package.
Comcast representative Linda Hossinger said that providing a basic cable service with fewer channels requires aligning channels consecutively and that that could mean additional charges to cable subscribers.
Otherwise, a basic package would require a converter, which sits on top of a television--also an additional cost to cable subscribers.
Council members acknowledged that Comcast has been active in supporting community events and that many of the company's decisions are made by corporate powers, but added that there must be some way for the company to provide a less expensive basic package.