JACKSON – Many township residents are not happy with what they receive from Optimum for their Wifi and cable service.
In response the governing body has filed a complaint with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) against their parent company, Altice.
Council President Alex Sauickie discussed the complaint filed by the council with the BPU during a recent council meeting. “The town has formally filed a complaint with the Board of Public Utilities around Altice or Optimum.” Those words drew applause from the audience.
“The town has in my opinion worked in good faith before filing this complaint. We did reach out to the management of Altice months ago in attempts to try to alert them to the concerns. They aren’t new concerns. They didn’t start with the pandemic. They were in existence before that,” Sauickie said.
“We did want to do right by Altice and see if we could work through their management. We also put a link on the Jackson Township website to allow residents to file their complaints directly with Altice which they in fact did,” Sauickie added.
“At this point, and speaking with the Mayor (Michael Reina) and Business Administrator (Terence Wall) and the rest of the governing body and speaking directly with the residents – which we have been hearing – we have now formally filed the complaint with the BPU,” Sauickie said.
The complaint charges that Optimum is providing inferior cable television and internet service to its customers. Optimum/Altice USA is under its current franchise issue by the BPU. Service is slow, poor network connections exist and there is an inability to use “DropBoxes” and Altice has not offered to reduce its fee for this service.
Many Jackson customers have also complained about the long wait to speak to customer service representatives which generally ends with a representative describing their problem as being “temporary.”
“We are also taking it one step further with resolution 337R-20. That resolution is requesting a 50% reduction in the fees that are paid to Altice for the residents going forward,” Sauickie said.
Jackson isn’t alone in its dissatisfaction of Optimum’s service. Hamilton Township and Robbinsville in Mercer County also called for the BPU to start an immediate investigation into the firm’s services.
Nearby Howell Township in Monmouth County also took action toward Altice after residents of that community expressed dissatisfaction with internet service provided by Optimum.
Sauickie added that the township would alert the BPU to the resolution. “Hopefully, they will take action regarding it. We do that in conjunction with other towns that have done it so hopefully we will see some action on that going forward.”
The governing body does not feel enough steps have been taken to correct the overall problem that Jackson customers have been complaining about. Representatives of the company told the governing body the issues were generated from conditions of the current COVID-19 pandemic as more people are at home using WiFi service but according to the township’s franchise agreement, that excuse holds no water and other providers are not exhibiting the same problems for their customers. Officials have noted that it was unfair for customers to have to pay full payment for partial service.
Resident Richard Egan said “I am very pleased with what you are doing with Optimum. I would say three or four times a month it disappears on the computer. No service, no explanation. A day goes by, two days go by. ‘we’ll get to you, I don’t know what to tell you’.”
“I think everyone in the town appreciates this,” Egan added.
Efforts were made to get a comment from Altice/Optimum which had press time had not responded to those efforts.