Worcester opposes transfer from Charter to Comcast

With one of its members referring to Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) as "the worst company in America for customer service," the city council for Worcester, Mass., has voted 8-3 against a measure that would transfer control of the city's cable subscribers from Charter (NASDAQ: CHTR) to Comcast.

As part of Charter's involvement in Comcast's $45 billion proposed takeover of Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), Comcast is negotiating the transfer of a number of Charter cable systems in the region to under its umbrella. In a swap involving 1.6 million, Charter is doing the same in other regions.

According to the Washington Post, Worcester--the second largest city in Massachusetts--is the first of 53 affected communities to oppose this transition.

"Most are going like sheep," Worcester City Council member Gary Rosen told the Post. "We won't go down without a fight."

The council voted 8 to 3 to ask Edward Augustus, the city manager, not to approve Comcast's takeover request.

The council's resolution is nonbinding, according to local paper The Republican. Augustus has asked for a two-week extension on the Oct. 15 deadline for making a decision on the matter.

"I have heard loud and clear from Worcester residents and the city council their concerns regarding the proposed transfer of the city's cable television franchise from Charter to Comcast," Augustus said in a statement Wednesday, obtained by The Republican. "I have been engaged in fruitful conversations with Comcast regarding these issues, including the vital matters of jobs and consumer protection."

Comcast spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice said in an e-mail to the Post that her company would work with Worcester "to address the concerns they have raised." She did not respond to a question about whether Comcast would keep the Charter call center Worcester.

For more:
- read this Washington Post story
- read this story in The Republican

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