Rejoice, New Yorkers, for our wise and just leaders have achieved a victory for all citizens against the cruel practices of the city's cable companies. In the Dark Days in which we currently reside, the power balance between the cable companies and us, the customers, is noticeably askew. We wait on the phone for half an hour speak to a customer-service representative, who then suggests that we try unplugging our wireless modem and plugging it back in, as if that weren't the first thing we do with every malfunctioning electronic appliance. Or, we clear our schedules for four hours while we wait for the repairman, only to be told that he's going to be a little late. Long have we fantasized about exacting our revenge, Kramer style, but the cable company has always held the upper hand in this relationship.
Until now, because the city has secured some pretty great-sounding concessions in its new contract with Time Warner and Cablevision. "In most cases," the Times says of one new rule, "a real person must come on the phone line no more than 30 seconds after a customer makes a selection from an automated menu." Not bad. Even better, though, customers will be given a credit for a "full month’s bill if a technician does not arrive on time," which actually makes the extra wait well worthwhile.
In addition, Time Warner and Cablevision will spend $10 million to install wireless Internet in 32 as-yet-unnamed city parks. If you already subscribe to either company your access is free, and if you don't, you get up to three ten-minute periods of free use per month, with a fee of 99 cents a day after that. You'll never be forced to experience nature without your computer again.