What telephone service providers operate in Newton?
Residents have access to landline service providers (e.g., Verizon, RCN, Comcast Phone) and wireless service providers (e.g., AT&T Wireless, MetroPCS, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless).
What cable television service providers operate in Newton?
Cable services in Newton are provided by Comcast, RCN and Verizon pursuant to franchise agreements with the City.
Are satellite service and other technology available in Newton?
Yes. Satellite services are provided by companies like DirecTV, Dish Network and Hughes. Some video programming is available over the Internet.
Who should I contact regarding a telephone or cable service problem?
Contact your service provider first. The consumer contact information for each cable operator should appear on your billing statement. The City recommends that when talking to your service provider, be sure to keep the date(s) of your contacts, the name of the people you talk with and copies of any correspondence and on line chat records. If you do not receive a satisfactory response, ask to speak with a supervisor.
If you are not satisfied with your cable or telephone service provider’s response, contact the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Cable (“DTC”). The DTC is located at:
Department of Telecommunications and Cable
1000 Washington Street-Suite 820
Boston, MA 02118-6500
The DTC Consumer Assistance telephone number is:
(617) 305-3531 or 1(800)-392-6066 (toll free)
Fax number: (617) 988-8288
DTC Website: http://www.mass.gov/ocabr/government/oca-agencies/dtc-lp/
The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) handles informal and formal complaints from consumers regarding interstate and international telephone services. Detailed information on how to file complaints can be found on the FCC website.
Federal Communications Commission
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
445 12th Street SW
Washington, DC 20554
Telephone: 1 888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322)
TTY: 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322)
Consumers can find additional information about telecommunications issues at www.fcc.gov/consumers
Questions about Internet access services?
At present, Internet access service is not subject to state regulation and is subject to limited federal regulation. Any complaints related to Internet access service should be brought to the attention of your service provider.
What if my cable service is interrupted?
Cable subscribers are eligible for a pro- rated credit or rebate for service interrupted for 24 or more consecutive hours. Contact your cable operator as soon as possible to request a service interruption credit. This credit may not be automatic under the current practices of Comcast, RCN and Verizon. Be sure to write down the dates and time periods of any service interruptions, the conditions at the time (e.g., storm, downed wires, other) and the date that you notified your cable operator. If you are dissatisfied with the cable operator’s response, contact the DTC.
How do I obtain cable service in a multiple dwelling unit?
If you live in a rental unit and there is no preexisting service, the landlord must authorize the cable provider to wire the building for cable access. If you live in a condominium, the association typically negotiates an agreement with cable providers to deliver cable service to the units.
Are my cable rates regulated and what are the fees on my bill?
Cable rates are not regulated due to federal laws.
Your cable bill includes a number of line items for services and equipment. In addition, the bill includes line items for taxes and other charges, including franchise fees paid by the cable operator to the City. If you receive other services such as telephone and Internet access from a single provider, you will receive a single monthly bill for all of these services and related charges. Contact the cable service provider for a line by line explanation of the bill and with any billing questions.
Are there any discounts for senior citizens?
Contact your cable service provider for current information on senior citizen discounts. A typical senior discount is tied to income eligibility guidelines and limited to a discount off of the basic service rate (e.g., $2.00/month discount or 10% discount/month). Cable operators cannot be required to offer senior citizen discounts. Any senior citizen discounts are being provided on a voluntary basis and may be changed or discontinued by the cable operator.
What are Public, Educational and Governmental Access programming
Under the City’s cable franchise agreements with Comcast, RCN and Verizon, each cable operator is required to make available channel capacity for public, educational and governmental (“PEG”) access programming. A significant portion of the franchise fees paid by the cable operators is used to support PEG access programming. Newton Communications Access Center, or NewTV, is a non-profit corporation that provides PEG access programming through a studio located in Newton Highlands. Residents of the City of Newton, members of Newton-based non-profit organizations, employees of Newton businesses and City of Newton employees are eligible to use NewTV facilities, studio and services. This includes the use of TV production equipment and facilities, channel time and training in TV production, editing, media literacy and Internet access. Anyone wishing to use NewTV facilities and services must become a member of NewTV for a small annual fee. For questions and information concerning NewTV, contact:
23 Needham Street
Newton, MA 02461
Telephone: (617) 965-7200
Does the City have any control over cable programming?
No. The City does not control cable programming content and is prevented from doing so under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and other federal law.
Customers are free to express their views about programming to their cable service provider. During franchise renewal proceedings and in communication with their cable service providers, customers can provide input on the types of programming that they would like available.