Comcast to Stay in Ocean City After Yielding to Skate Park

first_imgThe City of Ocean City and Comcast are working to find an alternative location for the Comcast customer service trailer that will be displaced by construction of a new skateboard park on a city-owned parking lot on the 500 block of Asbury Avenue.Comcast plans to maintain a customer service office in Ocean City even after construction of a new skateboard park displaces the cable television company from its current location on the 500 block of Asbury Avenue.City Council will vote Thursday (April 9) on advertising for bids from companies that can construct the new skate park, and Councilman Mike DeVlieger said he’s still hopeful that the project can be completed by summer. (Read more: Ocean City Skateboard Park Still on Track to Open by Summer.)The park is planned for the city-owned parking lot where a temporary Comcast customer service trailer is now housed.Comcast’s permanent office in Ocean City was damaged by Superstorm Sandy in October 2012, and the company applied to the state Board of Public Utilities in 2013 to close the Ocean City location altogether. That move would have required customers to travel to a Comcast office in Pleasantville to create and modify accounts, pay bills and exchange equipment.A sign on the door of Comcast’s former location at 341 West Avenue steers customers to the temporary trailer.But the city provided incentive for Comcast to stay: a rent-free space for the company to park a trailer to operate a customer service center.Even though the BPU later said Comcast must remain open in Ocean City only seasonally between April 15 and Oct. 15, the trailers have remained open year-round.Newer regulations allow Comcast close any office without seeking BPU permission unless the nearest other office is more than 35 miles away.A BPU ruling dated Sept. 30, 2014 (see full text in PDF below) approves the closing of Comcast offices in Northfield and Ventnor, but requires Comcast to “keep at minimum a ‘seasonal office’ (April 15 to Oct. 15) on the barrier islands similar to the service provided now by use of the Ocean City trailer.”The ruling notes that the franchise agreements in the towns do not require Comcast to maintain offices there.“The board has reviewed the franchise agreement,” the BPU writes. “Contrary to the contentions of Ocean City, Ventnor and Margate, the proposed office closings are not in contravention of the franchises currently in effect for the respective municipalities. None of the franchises require that the local service office be located within the respective municipalities.”But BPU staff noted that because Ocean City customers would have to travel the farthest to the Pleasantville office (12.7 miles), they would suffer the greatest impact.“We’re working with them to find another location,” Ocean City Business Administrator Jim Mallon said. “We feel it’s important to provide that service to our residents and visitors.”Mallon said the city has not yet identified an alternative location, but he said any potential agreement would be like the prior one: Ocean City would provide the space rent-free, and Comcast would pay to rent a trailer and make it handicapped-accessible._____Sign up for free breaking news updates from Ocean City.Get Ocean City updates in your Facebook news feed. “Like” us._____“At the city’s request, Comcast is making plans to remove its temporary customer service center at Fifth and Asbury in Ocean City to make room for a municipal construction project,” said Jennifer Bilotta, spokesperson for Comcast. “In preparation, we are working with the city to open a new temporary location by early May. Customers will be notified of the change and there will be no gap in service for Ocean City customers, as the existing location will not close until the new service center is open.”Billet said Comcast is still evaluating its plans for the off-season.She encouraged Comcast customers to learn more about services that don’t require a trip to a customer service center. See below._________Comcast Spokesperson Jennifer Bilotta on Comcast remote services:Customers can also take advantage of our other convenient ways to access and pay for products and services, such as online bill payment, automatic deductions, and mailed payments, and for delivery and installation of Comcast products and services through self-install kits mailed to customers or our professionally trained technicians.Specifically, by going to our dedicated self-service website (www.Comcast.com/help), customers can get 24-hour access to useful tips, information and easy-to-understand Self Service features like step-by-step instructional videos. Additionally, we provide customers with helpful instructional videos on YouTube (www.youtube.com/xfinity), the ability to use their Comcast login at xfinity.com to access the “My Account” page and the new “My Account” app for mobile devices – both of which allow customers to access important information about their account or to pay their bills, for example.Download (PDF, 178KB)last_img

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