Residents in Gainesville are seeking answers from Cox Communications over issues they’ve been experiencing with the cable television provider.
On Saturday at 1 p.m., representatives from Cox Communications will be meeting with residents at the Links clubhouse, located at 10000 SW 52nd Ave. in the Haile Plantation neighborhood, to discuss a multitude of complaints from residents over service issues.
Kathy Houchins, the manager of the Links at Haile Plantation, said she has been trying to get Cox’s attention for two years about the connectivity issues.
Houchins said residents in Haile Plantation frequently receive poor cable television signal, slower-than-advertised internet speed and TV pixelation.
She has spoken to numerous service technicians and Cox Communications representatives from more than five cities about the community’s issues.
“I contacted the local commissioners, and they said ‘We have no control over this’ and the state has no control over this,” Houchins said. “The FCC is the one in charge and is dictating who we have here, we only have one cable company we can use.”
In response, Houchins filed a complaint with the FCC, or the Federal Communications Commission, explaining “we couldn’t get anybody to call us back, I left thousands of messages pleading.”
Houchins said that after filing the complaint, she was made aware of a local Cox Communications public relations office centered in Gainesville. She’s mystified why, throughout the process working with Cox Communications office in cities such as Atlanta and New York City, she wasn’t initially directed to the local office.
Kevin Monroe, the market vice president for Cox Communications in Central Florida, heard Houchins’ pleas and “has taken the bull by the horns,” she said.
“He’s done what he can to start trying to get us better service here,” Houchins said, “but because I put out a notice with the Haile Plantation folks that we’re having this issue, and I filed a complaint, I want to know if anyone else within the Plantation had any issues.”
Based on the amount of emails Houchins said she’s received, she’s confident the issues with Cox Communications are affecting the majority of residents rather than the minority.
With Cox Communications sending representatives to Saturday’s meeting, Houchins expects Gainesville residents outside of Haile Plantation to also attend the meeting.
Cam Johnson, the Cox Communications public affairs manager for the Southeast region, said he’s aware of the residents’ complaints, and the company has already begun addressing the issues.
“We recently received some communications from the residents out there that they’d been having some issues,” Johnson said. “We sent out a team of engineers and technicians to look into the problem to see what might be going on.”
Johnson said, like with most technology, the hardware is prone to issues, and the company is trying to repair it.
“We did have a piece of equipment that needed to be repaired,” Johnson said. “We have received the permits for those repairs, and we’re all set to begin, and it should only take a few days.”
Houchins said she has seen numerous Cox Communications service vehicles in the area over the past several weeks, but she can’t attest to work being done outside of the Links.
But Haile Plantation isn’t the only Gainesville neighborhood searching for answers from Cox Communications.
Joe Swanses, a Gainesville resident living in Brookfield, a neighborhood fewer than five miles from Haile Plantation, said he has experienced the same problems with his service for more than a year.
“We’ve had technicians come out and tell us that there’s a weak signal, and we’ve had pixilation of the image on multiple channels,” Swanses said. “Apparently not everybody in the neighborhood knows about it, so they’re charging people for the service at their home and telling people – I’m telling anecdotal stories here – ‘Oh, it’s your cable box’ or ‘It’s your router’ or it’s something else. They’re not telling people the complete story.”
Swanses said it has been more than a year since technicians told him they were fixing the issues, but he hasn’t seen any improvement.
“I had to personally go into the Cox office, and they told me that they couldn’t do anything,” Swanses said. “Everytime I walk into a service place they say ‘Oh, we’re just sales people, we’re not technicians’.”
Swanses said he “finds it interesting” other neighborhoods have experienced similar problems with Cox Communications services. He believes part of the problem lies with the monopoly the cable television provider has in Gainesville.
Houchins believes most residents are seeking a resolution to their connectivity issues rather than monetary relief or compensation.
“I don’t know if money is the big thing here,” Houchins said. “They want to know when something will be done to provide the service they’re paying for.”