7,000 Middle Tennessee Comcast users could lose service following dispute

Comcast
(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Comcast users in Franklin and Moore counties could lose their service after the company failed to pay pole attachment rental fees.

The Duck River Electric Membership Corporation told News 2 that a notice was sent to Comcast that its facilities on DREMC poles are subject to removal unless overdue fees are paid prior to June 24.

About 7,000 Comcast customers could be affected.

The DREMC said a similar situation occurred with Comcast two years ago.

In that case, the company averted loss of service to customers by finally making a payment for the past-due amount and promising to enter into a new contract.

Now Comcast equipment is still attached to DREMC poles without a contract and has allowed another past-due balance to accrue.

“We presume that over this period Comcast used these attachments to derive profit from services sold to customers in Franklin and Moore counties. Over the same period, we presume Comcast terminated service to its own customers for non-payment. Our contention is that no matter how large the companies might be that use our poles, they are subject to the same rules,” said DREMC President and CEO Michael Watson.

Duck River sent notice to Comcast that, unless the delinquent pole attachment fees are paid, electric service will be disconnected to Comcast power supplies, and the process of Comcast equipment removal will begin under the co-op’s direction.

Comcast will be billed for the expense of equipment removal.

“We hope it does not become necessary for Duck River to take these steps. But it is unfair for tens of thousands of electric co-op members without access to cable TV or high-speed internet to subsidize the profits of a company like Comcast,” Watson said.

News 2 received the following statement from Comcast spokeswoman Sara Jo Walker about the situation:

Comcast has been negotiating with Duck River since 2012. We have made payments through 2015 and are paying our 2016 pole rent, despite their refusal to negotiate reasonable terms. We are disappointed that Duck River has resorted to public threats to extract pole rent of more than 3x the national average, while privately rejecting our proposal to invest an additional half a million dollars in expanding broadband in Franklin and Moore Counties.”

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