[mythtv-users] Cox Communications has turned off Firewire output

Tom Greer trgreer at gmail.com
Wed Aug 29 17:51:04 UTC 2007

On 8/29/07, Jay R. Ashworth <jra at baylink.com> wrote:
> Well, perhaps they need to put out an internal memo that says "please
> don't tell customers incorrect things that will get us shut down by the
> FCC".

The response I received from the Customer Support supervisor really pissed
me off.  It was so different than any other interaction with Cox, that I was
truly surprised.

He started by rather pompously telling me the firewire ports were
deactivated by a new software download to all set-top boxes.

Then, as we discussed the issue, he rambled a bit about:

   - protecting the content of copyright holders
   - that the USB and firewire ports being for Cox internal use only
   - my attachment of unauthorized devices to the box being a violation
   - that this was a "corporate" decision

This supervisor was obviously not surprised by my call.  He was aware, in
advance, of the action being taken.  While it did not appear that he was
reading a script, he was prepared.

He seemed ill-prepared for my quotation of FCC regulations.  At first he
stumbled a bit, then he decided he was safe to hide under the corporate
decision umbrella

> Well, I'm glad you have made progress with Cox. @#$%^&! Time Warner
> > Cable out here in Los Angeles cut off Firewire back in January. It
> > seems that they're using the same coders. :-(
> I gave Snider a heads up on the thread here; he says "please do have
> people send me their reports on these problems, in detail; the FCC
> people get 'visibly angry' when they hear these things".
> For whatever that's worth.  :-)

        jsnider at 1394ta.org

I do think that the fear of FCC reprisals is important.  Obviously, my email
campaign to Cox Communication executives and managers got attention.  While
they did not respond directly, I did get rapid responses from the manager
who oversees all of California and from my local technical support team.

And for what it's worth, also, I concur with those people who say

> "don't cancel your service if you propose to make a fuss; you'll lose
> standing"; they're probably right.
I agree that I need to remain a customer for now.

However, if Cox was not responsive, my primary concern is to find a way to
keep the MythTV system operational.  I've invested a lot of money building
the system and my family is really happy (and dependent) with the results.

Additionally, from my experience as a business manager, I know the most
powerful customers are those who are willing to vote with their dollars -
and who have influence to motivate others to follow.  In that vein, whenever
I am unhappy as a customer, I get loud in a public forum, emphasize my
long-term happy customer status, register my present unhappiness and
threaten to take my business elsewhere.   It is a very successful formula.

I would strongly recommend this strategy for all of the Time Warner Cable
customers in LA:

   - Identify as many Time Warner Cable executives as possible.
   Specifically seek those who have regulatory compliance responsibility.  The
   regulatory executives/managers are key.  If the FCC lowers the hammer, these
   people could lose their jobs.  You may need to make some telephone to
   identify the right contacts.  Here is a starting point - this web page lists
   the three divisional presidents who oversee Southern California and provides
   an email address:
   - Make all of your initial contacts with Time Warner in writing.
   Emphasize your long-term customer status.  Be courteous and professional.
   But be very specific about the FCC regulations (quote the CFR that I noted
   in my opening post) and their non-compliance.  Do not threaten.  Instead
   assume that some poorly informed person at some lower level in Time Warner
   has made a mistake and request their assistance to correct the situation.
   - Find out who in the City of Los Angeles oversees the awarding of
   cable TV licenses.  Never mind, here is a link to the minutes of their April
   2007 meeting that shows all of the committee members from Google cache:
   - Write to all of the above committee members.  Explain the situation
   to them using the FCC regulations.  Again be professional and courteous.
   Tell them that you have been unsuccessful in getting this resolved and
   request their assistance.  Attach a copy of your correspondence to Time
   Warner from above.
   - Write to the FCC as well.  Attach copies of the correspondence with
   Time Warner and the city of LA.  Ask them to investigate.

Finally, find others and get them to do the same.  Avoid form letters.  Each
person's correspondence needs to be unique.  Boiler plate type
correspondence from customers is an instant turn-off.  It creates the
appearance of manipulation by one or a small group - as opposed to a
groundswell of individuals who are upset.

Be persistent.  You will succeed.

Good luck.

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