Weston's controversial, decades-long cable deal ends this month

Article Courtesy of The Sun Sentinel


Published November 8, 2013


WESTON -- Come the New Year, cable will once again be in the hands of the residents.

The long-standing agreement with local Advanced Cable Communications for television services will end Dec. 31 giving residents the freedom to shop for deals and sign with the cable provider of their choice.

Residents of the southwest Broward community say they couldn't be more relieved.

"People felt so trapped for so long," said Mary MacFie, president of the Bermuda Springs homeowners association in Weston. MacFie pays the required $55 a month through the city for basic channels from Advanced and pays more than $200 directly to Advanced for additional channels and services.

"The cable company was able to charge for anything they wanted. There were no other options," said MacFie.

The developer-imposed cable deal goes back to 1987 nearly a decade before the city was incorporated.
Photos: Nelson Mandela through the years

The developer Arvida created a cable company that provided mandatory television service to all of the homes in the new Weston community. In 1996, Advanced bought that cable company along with the service agreement, which provided for continuous 10-year terms.

The never-ending agreement pushed the city and Advanced into a legal dispute and eventual settlement in 2006 that resulted in the service agreement ending Dec. 31 of this year.

"For a few years, the biggest resident issue was cable TV," said Weston Mayor Daniel Stermer of the cable charge. "Our main focus was to get out of the business and literally turn it back over the residents."

Starting Jan. 1, residents will be able to sign up with a different cable provider or continue their contract with Advanced.

"People thought Advanced was leaving that's not the intent," said Advanced Vice President Jim Pagano. "We have all the rights. We're going to be here in 2014 and beyond."

Pagano said residents will receive a bill from the company in a few weeks that continues their cable service uninterrupted. "If they don't want to stay with us, they'll have to tell us that," said Pagano.

Resident Leroy Keating said he wasted $55 a month for the basic cable from Advanced because he was also paying for Internet service and television channels from AT&T. Now, he said, residents are also hoping to avoid any more community, bulk deals.

"We all said, 'Look, we just got out of this contract,'" said Keating, the former president of Captiva Cay homeowners association. "We're not signing a deal. Each individual homeowner will be on their own to decide."