JACKSON – Councilman Alex Sauickie provided an update to the public about the status of Optimum/Altice One service issues which have plagued the community for several years.
During a recent council meeting, Sauickie said during his report that the governing body took action on the matter and brought it to the state’s attention in 2020.
“Right at the height of the pandemic when everyone was working from home, the sub-par service we already had from what we know as Optimum (Wi Fi and Cable TV firm) just got exponentially worse as more people were home and needed their internet,” he explained.
“This council filed a complaint in late 2020 with the Board of Public Utilities which has oversight on cable and the franchise agreements that are given between cable, internet and municipalities. I believe we were the first town to follow up with a second complaint after we really got no response from the first one,” Sauickie added.
He provided an update saying, “in a letter that our Township Attorney Gregory McGuckin and his firm followed up with only a couple weeks ago, and it is in regards to what is referred to as the American Communities Survey which rates cable television and internet service providers and I’m paraphrasing but it says while the residents of Jackson Township are certainly not surprised by the results the fact is that after promising to expend substantial funds to expand their infrastructure in the state of New Jersey in order to receive approval to purchase their predecessor which was Cablevision or Optimum, Altice One as it is known now, remains at the bottom of each of these categories.”
The letter questions whether the BPU will take appropriate action against Altice One in that it was clear they misled that board with “respect to its promises of infrastructure improvements to their system.”
“Altice promised these improvements. The BPU relied upon those promises and granted them approval. We urge the Board to enforce its original approval against this entity and urge the Board to impose substantial penalties for their failure to honor their obligations for their captive audience, our constituents,” Sauickie said, reading from the letter.
“I wanted to make sure the residents of the town know that we haven’t forgotten about this and it is something that has been going on frankly before 2020. 2020, frankly, for this council was the last straw when everyone had to be home during the pandemic and were trying to get their jobs done,” Sauickie added.
The councilman further stated, “their children need to work from home and this service continues to be awful. We are all residents of this town. I work from home quite a bit myself and I can tell you it cuts out for me all the time. I thank Mr. McGuckin and his firm continuing to keep the pressure on and you can be assured this council will do the same thing.”
Jackson was among numerous municipalities spread across the state that receive service by Altice One which noted various problems in technical and customer service by the firm. Altice responded in a BPU forum that it had a plan to address such service matters. Customers in Jackson and other communities however have voiced displeasure during municipal meetings that service issues remain.
Altice/Optimum representative Ashwin Bhandari provided a statement in response to questions from The Jackson Times regarding the service issues brought up during the Council meeting,
“Optimum is dedicated to delivering a great connectivity experience to our customers in Jackson Township, and we’ve made significant investments in our network and customer care that have resulted in improved network reliability and increased customer satisfaction in the area,” the representative said.
Bhandari added, “we are also under construction on our new 100% fiber network, which is already available in initial locations in Jackson with plans to build out fiber to thousands of homes and businesses in the township later this year.”