Deptartment of Administration - Cable Services Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who is my local cable provider and how do I sign-up for service?
2. Whom do I call to report a cable complaint?
3. What controls does the City have over cable services?
4. Why have I lost some of my cable channels and where have they moved?
5. What is the franchise fee listed on my cable bill?
6. Does the City of Cypress broadcast a local television channel?
7. What is PEG?

1. Who is my local cable provider and how can I sign-up for service?
There is one cable service provider in the City of Cypress, Time-Warner Communications. As of August 1, 2006, Time-Warner Communications is providing service to the areas in Cypress previously covered by Comcast.

Time-Warner Communications: 888-892-2253
www.timewarnercable.com/contact

2. Whom do I call to report a cable complaint?
If you have a problem with your cable service, please contact your cable service provider. If your problem cannot be resolved, please contact your Local Franchise Authority, which is the City of Cypress, at 714-229-6697. When you call the City, it is helpful for us to have the complete details of the issue as well as the name of the cable company's customer service representative that helped you.

If you would like to make a complaint to the City of Cypress online, you may complete the online complaint form.

3. What controls does the City have over cable services?
Federal and state laws establish restrictions on what the City is allowed to regulate in a franchise or negotiate for in a franchise agreement. Here is an overview of the restrictions:

What the City of Cypress Can Do What the City of Cypress Can't Do
Can require specific cable system capacity and functionality. Cannot require a specific transmission technology.
Can require support of PEG access through facilities, equipment, and channels (spectrum). Cannot specify which channels are or are not carried and cannot specify which channels are on which tier of service (other than PEG access).
Can establish customer service standards, including ones related to answering telephones calls, response to complaints, and imposition of late fees. Can require a local customer service office. Cannot regulate rates (other than lowest cost tier of service).
Through an enabling ordinance can require a specific definition of gross revenues. Cannot require franchise fees of more than 5 percent of gross revenues, as defined in the franchise agreement.
Can regulate the video portion of services offered. Cannot regulate any voice (telephone) services (regulated by state Public Utilities Commission).
Must be willing to negotiate in good faith with additional cable companies. Cannot specify engineering performance standards in those areas where FCC has preemptive authority.
Can require construction of an Institutional Network (I-Net) linking schools, libraries, and public buildings for voice, video and data communications. Cannot grant an exclusive franchise.
For the public access channel, can require placement at a specific location. Cannot regulate data services, including Internet services.
When a cable company does construction in public rights of way, can specify that it must do so in a manner that does not disrupt those rights of way unreasonably. Company must apply for and be issued all necessary construction and occupancy permits. Cannot regulate any voice (telephone) services. The City does not have any regulatory authority over cable phone services. Those services are regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). If you are complaining about a utility or carrier, it is requested that you try to resolve the complaint informally by contacting the utility or carrier before registering your complaint with the California Public Utilities Commission. If you desire to file a complaint, you may contact the CPUC at the following address:
Consumer Affairs Branch
505 Van Ness Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94102-3298
Phone: 1-800-649-7570 or 1-415-703-1170
  Cannot regulate data services, including Internet services.  In March 2002, the Federal Communications Commission, FCC, ruled that the State and local jurisdictions have no regulation authority over Cable Internet services. Cable Internet complaints must be handled by the specific carrier on an individual basis.

4. Why have I lost some of my cable channels and where have they moved?
Oftentimes, cable service providers delete channels or change certain channels or stations to different channel numbers. This is usually the result of a Federal Communications Commission regulation known as "must carry." ("Must Carry" is a 1992 Cable Act term requiring a cable system to carry signals of both commercial and noncommercial television broadcast stations that are "local" to the area served by the cable system.)

When a local broadcast station elects to be carried by your cable provider, regardless of what type of programming, your cable provider must carry that station on the basic cable tier. Because there are a limited amount of analog channels (channels which appear on the basic cable tier; an "analog signal" is a signaling method that uses continuous changes in the amplitude or frequency of a radio transmission to convey information), existing channels must be dropped or moved over to digital service.

Digital Television (DTV) is a new technology for transmitting and receiving broadcast television signals. DTV provides clearer resolution and improved sound quality.

5. What is the franchise fee listed on my cable bill?
The City of Cypress has a nonexclusive* franchise with local cable providers. As the Local Franchise Authority, the City determines and retains the franchise fee. The provider pays the City a fee for use of City right-of-ways and easements. Without using City property, cable providers would be unable to deliver cable signals.

*Non-exclusive: To prevent a monopoly, the City is open to any other cable company who would like to do business in Cypress. The City cannot force cable providers to offer services in Cypress.

6. Does the City of Cypress broadcast a local television channel?
Channel 36 is the official station of the City of Cypress. You will find live broadcasts of City Council Meetings on the second and fourth Mondays of every month at 7:00 p.m. Televised coverage also includes the Cypress Police Department's "Your City, Your Town," and "Discover Cypress," a guide to events and programs in the City. In addition, the City features outside programming in the areas of other cities, non-commercial programming, national galleries, other federal agencies, NASA, world news programs, county agencies, arts, entertainment, and the environment.

7. What is PEG?
This refers to cable television channels reserved by a cable agreement for use by Public, Education and Government access services.