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Complaints about Greenfield Communications’ fiber installation dominated the Rancho Murieta Association’s Communications Committee meeting this week. Seven neighbors were on hand for Wednesday afternoon’s meeting, a session where it's unusual to see any member of the community.

Two neighbors, Vicky Casares and Eric Cargo, complained about Greenfield’s method of drilling holes in the sides of homes to bring in the fiber. Casares said her husband had been assured there would be no holes. Cargo said Greenfield told him the same.

“It’s just not professional,” she said. “You wouldn’t expect it to be done like that.”

Cargo shared photos of installations at his home and the homes of neighbors. As he had at the previous night’s RMA meeting, he complained about shoddy drill work, the use of extension cords as a longterm power supply and that the installers didn’t even clean up their mess when done.

Cargo said he met with a Greenfield rep six weeks before his installation and was told there wouldn’t be holes in his walls. Greenfield’s online information says nothing about holes either, he said.

When the installers came to his home, he said he was told there would have to be holes drilled in the walls. “‘There’s no option’ – their words,” Cargo said. He said he walked the installers around outside and came up with three options.

Communications Committee

This week's RMA's Communications Committee meeting was a full house, as a handful of neighbors complained about the community's fiber installation.

Mike Powers, Greenfield’s CEO, told the group that installation in Rancho Murieta has been a challenge.

“One of the things we ran into pretty early on was we were basing our estimates, designs and schedules on the plans of where co-ax (cable) was, where the conduit was in the streets. What we found, unfortunately, mostly on the South, and we’re running into some sections now on the North, is that what was shown on the ‘as-builts’ (plans) wasn’t there. So it has really impacted our schedule. ... We’ve almost had to redesign every street, street by street. It’s been difficult.

“With the installs, we’ve tried to look at the different houses as to see what’s the best way to get the converter installed, get power to it, get the fiber connected and so forth.”

He said Greenfield developed installation procedures, “but a lot of the homes were different” and some “creative things” have been required to make installations.

He said installers are instructed to explain the situation to customers. “They’re not to say, ‘Take it or leave it, we’re out of here,’” Powers said. “That will get corrected.”

He added, “Granted, as good as I think our guys are, they make mistakes sometimes, and if they didn’t drill a hole correctly, that’s not acceptable. They should know better than that. And they’re supposed to ... vacuum and clean the dust. It’s supposed to be perfect. So if that’s not happening, we’ll get that fixed. Everything’s supposed to be sealed. There should be no water leaking.”

Ryan Waggaman, Greenfield’s local project manager, said the holes in walls are covered with a sealed bushing that lets the wires in but keeps water from entering. He said the company is already working on a slideshow that illustrates the installation possibilities when installers come to your home.

Neighbors in the room also complained about Greenfield’s lack of communications about installations, repairs and delays. Powers said Greenfield should be proactive about all of these. There was praise for Greenfield’s telephone customer-service reps.

Also at the meeting:

  • With the South installation complete, Powers said Greenfield still projects it will finish the North by the end of April, but he added, “the North scares me. We have some sections out there we’re running into that are worse than we thought.” If there are further delays, Powers said, they should be posted online so the community is aware. Waggaman promised to post a standing, week-by-week installation calendar.
  • Waggaman said the channel lineup will be changed, in response to customer requests, to align channel numbers with the local broadcast channel numbers and to group some channels by category.  He said the community will be given a healthy lead time before the change is made because it will require everyone to rescan their TVs to pick up the new channel lineup. He said Greenfield will be in “all-hands” mode that day to address customer issues.
  • Waggaman said that while Greenfield doesn’t always respond to issues raised in the Forums here, they do read the posts and make internal adjustments. He said it’s difficult to respond constructively online.
  • Although Greenfield’s channel guide lists Channel 2 as a community channel, it’s not available yet. It will be removed from the list until it’s available, Waggaman said.
  • Greenfield said it has tried to remove commercials for Dan’s Auto Center, in Oakhurst, but the commercial lineup is controlled by an outside company. Powers said he would contact the ad-management company to see if the issue can be addressed.
  • Once the community installation is complete and stable, Powers said Greenfield will change out the green cable boxes that sit on many lawns, swapping them for something less visible.
  • The neighbors present said they wouldn’t choose to pay an additional $5 a month to add Animal Planet and Hallmark to the cable lineup, a lineup change requested by another neighbor.  Before the meeting adjourned, the committee voted no on the addition, which would require a board vote for approval.
  • Current installation numbers, provided by Greenfield:
    • 1,252 “hot” homes, with fiber available
    • 423 homes have Basic TV on the new system
    • 171 have Advanced TV services on the new system
    • 754 homes are still on the old cable system
    • 513 homes have fiber internet service
    • 1,338 homes total are on the internet – fiber and cable
    • 126 customers have phone service

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