Kokua Line

June Watanabe

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Bad signal may be
causing cable problems

Question: Almost every day during the past two weeks and more, the digital cable box service will crash, and about two to three minutes of viewing is lost as the system resets. While the interruptions seem to happen at random times, this happened three times within one hour on Sunday, June 15. It was impossible to reach anyone at Oceanic Cable since they had an "unusually high number of calls," and their recording did admit to islandwide interruptions in service. I am paying for premium services and expect much better service. Who regulates Oceanic? I feel some sort of refund or adjustment to my bill is in order after the fiasco Oceanic had several weeks ago with people being told to return their digital boxes.

Answer: Oceanic says your problem appears to be an individual one and that if it continues, your signal needs to be checked.

The digital boxes are "like computers" and, as such, "can be temperamental," said Sandy Davis, Oceanic's director of customer care.

However, unless service disruptions tally up to at least 24 hours, Oceanic does not give refunds or credits.

That's in line with what the state Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs, which monitors cable companies in Hawaii, says is the accumulated amount of lost service time for which customers generally are entitled to an adjustment or refund of charges.

A few weeks ago, Oceanic did have "an area problem" in Kaimuki in which many digital customers lost service, and in that case they were given credit, Davis said. However, she said the problems on June 15 were not digital-related.

(Because Oceanic has been experiencing a higher number of calls on Sundays, it will be adding more staff on that day, beginning this Sunday, to handle calls, she said.)

Oceanic periodically upgrades its digital system. Daily, at 4 a.m., it "updates the interactive guide" by checking to see that two-way communication between Oceanic and more than 110,000 digital customers is open.

"We are talking to these boxes and making sure they are talking back to us," Davis said. "If we detect (a box) is not communicating back to us, we will force that box to listen to us" by shutting it down.

Meanwhile, the Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs says you should first try to resolve any problems with your cable company, but if that doesn't work, you can contact the Cable Television Division at 586-2620. Neighbor islanders can call the following numbers followed by 6-2620 and the # sign: Kauai, 274-3141; Maui, 984-2400; Hawaii, 974-4000; Lanai and Molokai, 800-468-4644.


To the skateboarder who took his time riding down the length of Waialae Nui Ridge at 7:45 p.m. June 14, making obscene gestures to vehicles that wanted to pass. Auwe also to his friends in an Isuzu Outback with out-of-state plates who followed close behind him, throwing rocks at cars as they drove by. I did not honk my horn, yet I got a rock thrown at my car as I passed by, causing a ding and chipped paint. -- T.N.


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