NORTH ADAMS — The city will explore its "legal next steps" after Charter Communications failed to respond by a Friday deadline to allegations of breaches of contract.
In a letter to Spectrum parent company Charter Communications last month, Mayor Thomas Bernard cited a number of alleged breaches of its license with the city and requested payments that exceed $500,000.
But Charter did not respond within the 30-day window, a timeline stipulated under its contract with the city.
"This is a fairly predictable outcome, and it speaks to a pattern of lack of responsiveness that we've seen from Charter," Bernard told The Eagle on Friday. "It speaks to what happens when you don't have competition in the marketplace."
In lieu of a response, Bernard plans to explore options in consultation with the state Department of Telecommunications and Cable, and the city's cable attorney.
The city's complaint centered around the company's failure to install contractually agreed-upon fiber lines between a number of Northern Berkshire public buildings and the Northern Berkshire Community Television Corp. headquarters on Union Street.
Bernard's letter, dated Sept. 5, also alleged that Spectrum failed to provide the necessary 30 days' notice before repositioning the local public, educational and government access channels from the teens into the 1300s, as part of its switch to an all-digital, encrypted signal this year.
The letter also requested proof of payments that the cable company is required to make locally, as well as copies of its customer complaint and service outage logs. By failing to provide that information by Friday, the company has committed further breaches of contract, Bernard alleges.
The 10-year contract was signed in 2014 by the city and Time Warner Cable, which later was acquired by Charter Communications.
The city alleges that new fiber lines should have been installed from Drury High School and City Hall to the NBCTC headquarters by March 16, 2016, but have yet to be put in place.
The letter demands payment to the city, for the support of the public access channels, of $277,049.43 for each of the two lines.
The dollar amount is based on the stock price of Charter Communications on the day the mayor's letter was submitted — $306.81 — multiplied by the number of days that have elapsed since the agreed-upon installation date of fiber lines — 903.
The mayor's letter also seeks a nearly $21,000 reimbursement to the NBCTC for costs the station incurred "to both test and make workable [when possible] the return signals from Drury High School and North Adams City Hall."
The city also has requested a list of information from the cable company, including proof of its contractual payments for public, education and government access channels and Municipal Access and Technology payments.
A representative for Charter told The Eagle last week that the company planned to respond ahead of Friday's deadline. Charter did not immediately respond Friday to a request for comment.
"While the communication was a necessary step, at no point was I holding my breath that it was going to be completely or thoroughly responded to," Bernard said.
Adam Shanks can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter, or 413-629-4517.