Woodbridge customers of Optimum to get compensation
Optimum Cable customers in Connecticut, including Milford, Orange and Woodbridge, will be getting some kind of compensation for not having access to WFSB in their channel lineup between mid-January and mid March after all, but they’ll have to ask for it.
The compensation Optimium Cable customers are being offered is not cash or a credit on their bills for the period that WFSB disappeared from their cable system during a contract dispute that lasted Jan. 13-March 17.
Instead, customers are being offered three free months of movie channels offered by Optimum, according to area elected officials who have been briefed on the compensation package.
Optimum customers can choose one of the following channels: Showtime; Showtime on Demand, including Showtime Anytime; Starz and Encore, Starz on Demand, Encore on Demand; or TMC and TMC on Demand.
In addition, customers who had signed up for free CBS All Access before March 18 will receive free service for the whole month of March.
Optimum customers in Connecticut have to call the company’s state customer service number at 203-870-2491 or visit an Optimum store to get the compensation.
Optimum has stores in Litchfield, Bridgeport and Norwalk, according to the company’s website.
Unfortunately for Optimum Cable customers, the company’s corporate parent isn’t going out of its way to alert its subscribers to the compensation.
Optimum’s corporate parent, Altice Group, initially did not respond to requests made last week by the newspaper to provide details on the compensation.
Janet Meehan, an Altice spokeswoman, said Monday that Optimum is “offering some options for impacted customers in Litchfield and New Haven.”
“They can contact us to discuss more about their account,” Meehan said, declining to provide any other information.
Optimum carried WFSB on cable systems in 24 Connecticut towns, including eight in Litchfield County.
However, Meehan’s refusal to provide anything but the most basic information about the compensation offer makes it unclear whether Optimum customers in Fairfield County are eligible.
Optimum carries two CBS affiliates in Fairfield County, WFSB and the network’s owned and operated station in New York City, WCBS. Optimum continued to carry WCBS in the Fairfield County homes it serves throughout the dispute with WFSB.
The New Haven Register first became aware of the compensation offer after the newspaper received an email Friday from Woodbridge First Selectman Ellen Scalettar.
“I am concerned that not enough residents are aware of their compensation options,” Scalettar said, explaining her reason for contacting the newspaper.
Scalettar recently released information for her town’s residents.
“I am pleased that these two companies settled their dispute and now Woodbridge residents can, once again, watch local news and local sporting events,” said Scalettar.
“We are publishing this information because I am concerned that not enough residents are aware of their compensation options.”
State Sen. Gayle Slossberg, D-Milford, said she would have preferred that subscribers receive financial compensation for their troubles, either in the form of cash or a bill credit.
“But the law doesn’t require them to do anything, so this is the best that we can hope for,” said Slossberg, who spearheaded a petition drive and led other efforts to convince Altice and Meredith Corp., WFSB’s corporate parent, to resolve their dispute.
“This is not something that you get automatically,” Slossberg said.
“That’s why I want let as many people as possible know about this.”
Call Luther Turmelle at 203-680-9388.