Couple fit to be tied in tangle with cable company

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How many trees does it take to run a cable connection to your house?

If that question floors you, pity Mary Stanford of London.

Her cable connection had literally been up in the air — strung to her house through several trees leading to a cable box down the street — for a year, under a temporary service hookup installed by telecom giant Rogers.

All Mary Stanford and her husband wanted were a few extra cable channels at their west London home, for which they switched to Rogers from rival Bell last year.

What they got was an ordeal that threatened their rapport with their neighbour and left Stanford phoning Rogers call centres across Canada for relief.

Friday, after the couple told The Free Press their story and the newspaper began asking questions, a crew showed up at their Oakridge home to bury the cable, as originally promised last July.

After 12 months, 10 increasingly angry phone calls and multiple visits by Rogers employees, the fix couldn’t come soon enough.

“We have a very positive relationship with our neighbour and we nearly lost that — all over cable TV,” said Stanford,

The couple had a cold-call offer from Rogers, Bell’s biggest competitor, and accepted that upgrade from their old basic cable.

The Rogers service was installed at the couple’s Chalfont Road home on July 6, 2016, with Rogers telling them the cable — normally buried — would temporarily be run above ground.

What they wound up with for almost a year was a cable run from their house, to their neighbour’s chimney, intertwined through the branches of several trees, around multiple tree trunks and down onto the lawn of a house two doors down the street, where it connected with a cable box.

The neighbour said he agreed to the wiring on his property for a few days, but that Rogers never contacted him and he never gave permission to attach anything to his house.

Apparently, that’s standard practice in the digital cable industry, according to Adam Salton, London’s manager of zoning and public property compliance.

“A lot of the time they’ll string them (cables) half way up a telephone pole, they might string it around a tree to give temporary service,” he said.

Rogers said it typically takes up to two months to install cables in the ground.

Two weeks after Rogers hooked up the cable, Stanford said she tried to contact the company to get it to rewire the setup as promised. She said she had no luck, repeating her story to Rogers employees at call centres across the country.

By June, the Stanfords and their neighbour were fed up. Stanford’s husband contacted the city’s bylaw office. Within a few days, a Rogers representative came to the house and moved the cables.

“The delay in this case is very unusual and we sincerely apologize to our customer,” Rogers said in a statement. 

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