Mediacom operations director shuts down customer's complaint, says he doesn’t get how franchise agreement works

Mediacom Operations Director Corey Bowman. (Mediacom)

In Waterloo, Iowa, the customer apparently isn’t always right, and they better learn about the distinction between local and state cable franchise agreements.

That’s the essential takeaway from an op-ed written by Mediacom Operations Director Corey Bowman, responding in local paper The Courier to a previous opinion piece written by a subscriber and semiretired attorney named Gene Yagla. Bemoaning Mediacom’s response time to numerous issues, Yagla criticized Waterloo city officials for not doing enough to enforce the terms of what he said was a local, exclusive franchise agreement with the cable operator.

Faced with a choice on how to respond, Bowman could have apologized to Yagla, who said his most recent complaint about a Mediacom service interruption was routed through a call center in the Philippines and took three days to address. But the cable executive chose another route, accusing Yagla of not having his facts correct. 

“As former Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan once famously said, ‘everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts,’” Bowman wrote, noting that Yagla “relied on his own facts to formulate his opinions about Mediacom and the city of Waterloo.

“Contrary to Mr. Yagla’s statements, Mediacom has never been granted the exclusive right to provide cable service to Waterloo residents,” Bowman added. “In 2013, Mediacom chose to convert its local franchise to a state-issued franchise certificate. As a result, the regulation of Mediacom moved from a local function to a state function. When Mr. Yagla accuses Waterloo of disbanding the Cable TV Commission and abdicating its role as overseer of Mediacom, he is simply mistaken about the role the city now plays in regulating local cable companies.”

Rather than address the customer’s specific concern about local competition and response time to issues, Bowman touted the cable operator’s investment in local infrastructure. 

“In the past 24 months, Mediacom has invested well over $5 million of its own private capital for major improvements in our Waterloo facility and local network. Homes and businesses in the eight Black Hawk County communities we serve have had access to ultrafast 1-Gig internet speeds for more than a year—speeds that are still years away from being deployed in most U.S. communities,” he wrote. 

“Waterloo has been one of the top recipients of our company’s investments—money that has stayed in Waterloo to make tangible improvements that people can see in our facilities and experience with our innovative products and industry-leading internet speeds,” Bowman added.