Here’s why hundreds of Orange County residents say their cable TV is ‘unwatchable’

Article Courtesy of  Channel 6 ClickOrlando.Com

By Louis Bolden

Published December 21, 2019


ZELLWOOD – Residents say fuzzy pictures, bad audio came with cable service chosen by HOA. Hundreds of people in an Orange County neighborhood say their cable TV service has pixelated pictures and distorted audio during primetime hours.

Residents in Zellwood Station, a community in northwest Orange County for people ages 55 and older, say their homeowners association signed a multi-year contract with OpticalTel, complicating the situation.

Dennis Hites, who lives in the community, says they all have the same problem.

"You can't watch and the sound becomes distorted and off track," Hites said.

His neighbor, Judy Brodsky, agreed.

“Its just awful, just awful,” Brodsky said.

Three years ago, the Zellwood Station Homeowners Association notified residents that OpticalTel would be the service provider for the entire community.

The company started construction in the community and, a couple of months ago, started hooking up homes.

“Basically, it started the day they hooked it up,” Hites said.

Residents believe the company’s infrastructure can’t handle the number of homes in the community.

“The more people that turn their television on, the worse the pixelation becomes,” Hites said.

John Goller, who also lives in the community, agreed.

“It’s totally unwatchable from seven (o’clock) in the evening until 11 at night,” Goller said.

All of the residents are in their late 70s and early 80s and say TV is a big part of their day.

They also say they have complained to the company but have not gotten answers.

“They basically said, ‘Well, we’re working on it. We’re working on it.’” Hites said.

News 6 contacted the company and got a letter from their public relations team blaming "antiquated infrastructure" from the previous cable provider.

“Circumstances outside of our control, including but not limited to, road work prevalent in Central Florida, as well as third party approvals, have impacted the final completion,” the letter, signed OpticalTel Public Relations Team, read.

Elizabeth Lanham-Patrie, an attorney representing the HOA, also responded to News 6 and disputed that excuse.

“The timelines within the agreement were not contingent upon third-party approvals,” Lanham-Patrie wrote in the letter.

“OpticalTel contracted to run an all new fiber optic system throughout Zellwood Station, therefore, there was no reliance upon the older system,” Lanham-Patrie wrote.

The letter also shows that on Nov. 18, the association sent OpticalTel a letter demanding that they suspend further installation to other residences until OpticalTel fixed the service issue.

The association signed a multiyear year contract with the company.

OpticalTel started construction a year after the agreement was signed and later missed deadlines to fix the problem, according to Lanham-Patrie.

"The delay was not expected and not consistent with terms of the agreement." Lanham-Patrie wrote.