The Carroll Cable Regulatory Commission and local citizens voiced their concerns about Comcast’s plan to close its Westminster service center at the commission’s Thursday night meeting.
The Carroll Cable Regulatory Commission and local citizens voiced their concerns about Comcast’s plan to close its Westminster service center at the commission’s Thursday night meeting. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

The Carroll Cable Regulatory Commission and local citizens voiced their concerns about Comcast’s plan to close its Westminster service center at the commission’s Thursday night meeting.

The commission members have already expressed their concerns to Comcast about its decision to leave in a letter, though they would not elaborate on the letter’s contents as the matter is still being addressed.

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According to the county commission’s franchise agreement with cable providers, “The Franchisee shall maintain within the geographic limits of Carroll County a local business office or designated agent that shall be open during normal business hours for the purpose of receiving and resolving all subscriber complaints regarding the quality of service, equipment malfunctions and other similar matters, and to allow subscribers to request service, pay bills, and conduct other business.”

It has yet to be seen from the meeting whether Comcast’s decision to close will be violating the agreement because the company still has technicians based in the area, according to Joshua Bokee, director of government and regulatory affairs with Comcast.

Closing the center would not affect response times for technicians to help customers because the technicians are based in Westminster, Bokee said.

As Bokee voiced Comcast’s decision to leave Carroll County on Oct. 19, he also stated that the decision was made after a “careful review,” but wouldn’t explain further what was reviewed.

Local residents said they think it is unfair for them, especially the elderly, to have to do extra leg work because Comcast is leaving.

“I think it’s bad that, especially for senior citizens that have Comcast,” Nanci Raines said. “Maybe they don’t drive, they have to depend on someone or get a friend to take them and pay their bill or to get new pieces. That means that they’re going to have to go to Owings Mills or Frederick, and that’s a 50-mile round trip. I think it’s sad that Comcast is doing this to their customers.”

According to Bokee, Comcast offers a variety of ways to pay your bills, including via phone, mail, app, website or paying through Western Union, which would cost an additional fee, of which Bokee was not sure of how much that would cost.

One resident suggested that Comcast should do further market research into its decision to close.

“So whatever you have done, I’m sure you’ve done some research, to close this facility in [Westminster], again, to me doesn’t make any sense. But my main problem is with the equipment exchange, because I’ve had to do it a number of times, very inconvenient for me,” Wayne Gibbs said. “So if you’re going to do this, maybe you should look at the cost of you delivering the equipment to the customer and have it done within a period of 24 hours.”

Bokee said the closing of the service center would be permanent but could not comment on whether opening a new center elsewhere in Carroll would be considered.

According to the commission, the county commissioners will also be addressing the Comcast issue, though they did not elaborate on how.

As far as the employees of the Comcast service center are concerned, Bokee said, they “have the opportunity to apply for positions, and that’s all I can say."

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