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Comcast Mailing Upsets Eagan Residents; Council Schedules Hearing to "Shed Light"

The Eagan City Council will host a special hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 19, to discuss a new set of potential Comcast fees.

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An outcry over unexpected Comcast fees has prompted the Eagan City Council to schedule a special hearing on Tuesday to shed light on the matter.

Earlier this month, a number of Comcast customers in Eagan and other Twin Cities communities received a notification announcing that the company is upgrading its network to an "all-digital platform". Because of the upgrade, users may need a new digital converter or other equipment to continue receiving their current television channels, the notice said.

The notice prompts subscribers to order a digital adapter for un-upgraded TVs for a monthly fee of $1.99 per adapter.

That isn't sitting well with some Eagan residents, who took to the city's Facebook page to express their frustration.

"Comcast increases rates constantly and provide [sic] no service improvements in return," a Facebook user identified as Dallas West wrote. "I'm not paying for another box. No way, no how."

Eagan city officials heard residents' concerns and have scheduled a public discussion during the regular council meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at Eagan City Hall. A Comcast representative will be at the meeting.

Eagan Communications Director Tom Garrison hopes the city can serve as the liaison between the company and upset residents.

The city, Garrison said, used to have a joint cable franchise commission in conjunction with the city of Burnsville that typically took action during situations like this. However, that commission was disbanded several years ago, and its responsibilities fell to the Eagan council.

"What we’ve decided to do is try to gather more information on behalf of our residents," Garrison said. "I think people are certainly hearing about it. They’ve got questions, they’ve got mailings, and we hope to get them good and useful information they can act on."

Did you receive the Comcast mailing? Are you attending the Tuesday meeting? Post your questions or concerns in the comment section below.

Barbara Gilbertson February 15, 2013 at 01:21 PM
I'm in a Comcast snit at the moment, so this just fuels my little fire. I've come to think of them in the same vein as Eye of Sauron. And yes, I got The Letter, too. Can you say "gouge"?
Dana February 15, 2013 at 01:55 PM
We dumped Comcast two years ago and WILL NEVER go back to them. We were so frustrated with their constant rate hikes and billing issues.
Sarah Zacher February 15, 2013 at 02:04 PM
I wish there was another competing cable company in Eagan. We tried Dish, but the reception was horrible. Not happy at all with Comcast!
Dee Olsen February 15, 2013 at 02:37 PM
Comcast is a company I will never deal with again due to constant rate increases.
David Henke (Editor) February 15, 2013 at 02:51 PM
Anyone here planning to attend the Tuesday hearing? I'll be there covering the discussion, and I'm interested in what questions attendees plan to ask the city and Comcast representatives.
Grama February 15, 2013 at 03:00 PM
I'm more concerned with the $ 10.00 hike i got from excel energy for my 190 kwh. According to the mailing average underground for 824 kwh usage increase would be 10.24. I called comcast and after a lot of questioning I was finally told the increase was only for users of basic service. I get not get my question answered, " why would I want to convert my digital back to analog?" It supposedly is going to be removed from my bill.
Todd February 15, 2013 at 03:10 PM
This industry needs to be deregulated. There service is a joke! NO it’s pathetic and I can’t believe we continue to put up with it. I know I’m not alone and have seen numerous stories, posting etc sharing my sentiments. They continue to take more and we get less. I dread calling them anytime there is an issue. The fact that I have to call them and wait 30 to 60 minutes to have my adapter cable box reset because it was unplugged is ridiculous. My sister lives in Shrewsbury, MA and gets her cable through the city and says it’s great. Wish Eagan could do something like that. I'd much rather give my money to my local community, rather than some big conglomerate.
Rosco February 15, 2013 at 03:11 PM
This is what happens when companies buy out their competitors. They become a monopoly. Hold your representatives responsible for approving buyouts. Contact Kline and let him know. He is part of the machine that keeps allowing monopolies to develop but he calls it capitalism.
Nana February 15, 2013 at 03:53 PM
We're with DirecTV and have not had any problems with the company or reception. We bundle the TV service through Century Link.
rickey m February 15, 2013 at 04:22 PM
comcast recently purchased 50% of NBC that they don't own for 16 billion. think they don't overcharge? GOVT. officials dont have the balls to to confront them and deregulate.
Todd February 15, 2013 at 06:04 PM
1. Good point. However, it does sometimes feels like democracy is a façade regarding some issues because they pacify us by allowing us to think we have a voice. I don’t think Kline or many other representatives/senators give a crap about what we think. Rather, let the people think they have a voice. They only way we truly will make a difference in a Capitalist society is if the “people” boycott oligopolies, but they have us by the proverbial “balls”. The only real way to effect capitalism seems to be to hit them where it counts (the old mighty dollar). We do have other options, but many (including myself) just don’t like hassle/change and avoid switching to DISH TV, Verizon or ATT mobile hot spots for the internet and phone service. They know this, and is another advantage for these companies. Now, having said all this I do realize and think we are far better off than many other political systems…. but I don’t really know for sure because I’ve never lived anywhere else other than the good old U.S.A. Sorry for the cynicism, but issues like this make my blood boil sometimes.
Deb M February 15, 2013 at 06:10 PM
I have the most basic Comcast service and if I did not need it to get consistent reception of just basic networks you can bet I would NOT be a subscriber. An increase of $1.99 may not seem like much but when on a fixed income it is a loaf of bread or a small carton of milk. We need options in order to prevent the gouging we are seeing in services such as cable television, internet and cell phone couverage.
Margo Danner February 15, 2013 at 08:01 PM
WE also received the letter from Comcast regarding another mandate about new equipment and fees. It's about a new crisp digital picture and sound. Our picture is just fine and we don't want another little black box. We pay over eighty dollars a month and 3/4 of the channels we don't watch or need. We recently lost TCM and needed an upgrade on our package to get it. Most cable stations repeat the same movies and reruns of old shows, etc. This is nonsense and the consumer is stuck again. Isn't it time Comcast gave the public what they want and stop creating stuff that just creates more fees and higher bills each month? They'd certainly be able to retain their customers and probably expand their membership further.
Barbara Miller February 15, 2013 at 08:36 PM
I completely agree re City of Eagan. Is that possible? Feasible? Affordable?
Dr Emmett Brown February 15, 2013 at 08:58 PM
Comcast is lying to every resident of Eagan. We are in the southeast corner of town and were told the same thing last year. They told us we would receive two $1.99 boxes "free" each month and only needed to "rent" extra boxes for additional sets in our home. Well, when you have kids growing-up in Eagan, we "rented" three additional boxes at $1.99 each. We were notified in December that we will now be paying the additional $1.99/box for the "free" boxes. Since last year, this has added an additional $9.95 (PLUS TAX) to our monthly bill. On top of that, the internet fees, extra services and DVR were all increased in December, pushing our $85.00/mo. bill from a year ago to over $175.00/mo. today, and this is pretty basic service!! It's time to end the city monopoly with Comcast. I'd love to cut the Comcast cable, but kids in IDS #196 can't do homework without internet. Thanks Comcast.....a 206% increase in a year!!
Northstream February 15, 2013 at 09:41 PM
Eagan grants them access to residents and can modify the agreement, the city is responsible for the monopoly. Make the council and mayor pay more attention to their constituents than the Chamber of Commerce!
maria murad February 16, 2013 at 12:02 AM
The same thing has occurred in Apple Valley with Charter. By next year, my bill for basic cable will be increased by $5. They "generously" let me have a box free for 12 months. For the extra charge, I get nothing! The tech who had to come out to get the box working told me the cable companies divvy up the territory so that AV is Charter territory and there are no options except Dish or satellite. If I revert to analog next year, my only chance for reception for the regular channels (2, 4, 5, 11) will be rabbit ears. It's a flagrant monopoly!
Trudy Kenney February 16, 2013 at 01:01 AM
We left Comcast 2 years ago. A year after the fact they called about a delinquent bill for the person who had our phone number before they assigned it to us. The employee told me I needed to bring a bill and ID to one of their offices to prove that I wasn't the prior owner. No way! The idea of having to take time off from work to prove that I wasn't their former client didn't sit we'll and I refused to do this. Eventually they quit calling. Bad business.
mike February 19, 2013 at 09:15 PM
It's not a $1.99 it is really 3.98 per month, (because comcast gave us 2 boxes) for 12 months for a total of $47.76 a year for boxes we received for free.... Comcast is the winner, Comcast will receiver 1 billion dollars in new revenue from this charge once all of their customers are charged the monthly fee of 1.99 per box. The customer is the loser, because we lose the free HD stations that we currently receive using the analog signal.

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