PISCATAWAY, NJ – There may be relief in sight for Piscataway residents who have cable TV and internet services from Optimum, services that have proven unreliable in recent months as many turned to online learning and work-from-home opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic only to have to deal with weak signals, unexpected outages and poor customer service.
“Working and studying from home during this coronavirus pandemic are dependent on reliable internet service,” said Mayor Brian Wahler in a letter sent to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) in September, demanding an investigation into the company’s practices.
The NJBPU provides oversight of state regulations of the cable TV industry. Municipalities are only able to make inquiries into concerns.
Mayor Wahler and Council President Gabrielle Cahill addressed the situation during a recent meeting with representatives from Altice USA, Optimum’s parent company.
The details of the September 30 meeting were not made public but township officials said on Wednesday that “Altice officials relayed that Optimum is in the midst of expanding its network capacity to provide our township with expanded bandwidth for better internet service.”
“The township would like this work to be expedited and looks forward to Optimum revamping its operating procedures to provide better customer service,” they said in a Facebook post.
Residents and community leaders joined in the fight for better service, some sending letters and emails themselves to the BPU in complaint.
“It’s been horrible during COVID,” said Kamuela “Nikki” Tillman of the Piscataway Progressive Democratic Organization (PPDO).
Tillman collected over 500 signatures from Piscataway residents in a petition presented to the BPU in complaint about Optimum, formerly Cablevision about their service delivery issues across the township.
The petition also called for a response from Optimum, with Tillman giving examples of what the experience has been like logging into work related Zoom video calls or to the Schoology accounts their children are required to access for school district mandated virtual learning plans.
“Individual complaints will make for an effective campaign for change and will bring high level attention to the issue,” said Tillman in a news release.
Residents who continue to have issues with their Optimum services, including cable TV, internet, and phone can file a complaint with the Board of Public Utilities’ Cable TV Assistance Line by calling 1-800-624-0331.
Online, visit https://www.state.nj.us/bpu/assistance/complaints/.
Residents may also file their cable complaints by writing to:
Office of Cable Television & Telecommunications
New Jersey Board of Public Utilities
P.O. Box 350
Trenton, NJ 08625-0350
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