Prince William County government has franchise agreements that licenses and regulates three cable television companies operating within the County; Comcast Franchise Agreement, Verizon Franchise Agreement and RCN Franchise Agreement. There are no monopolies on cable television services in the County other than restrictions placed by individual developers in some neighborhoods that are part of homeowner's covenants. Prince William County has no oversight on satellite television providers, such as Direct TV or the DISH Network.
As part of these agreements, Comcast, RCN and Verizon have agreed to meet specific customer service standards for cable television services only. (*For internet and phone complaints, please see information below.) None of these franchise agreements allow Prince William County government to oversee pricing, channels offered to customers, or packages available to purchase.
The role of the County, as laid out in the franchise agreements, is to attempt to mediate a resolution between customers and cable television providers. Examples of issues that the County can help you with include slow or incorrect response to billing complaints, physical problems with reception, frequent outages or unburied cable lines, service problems or canceled appointments and long on-hold times when calling customer service.
Complaint Procedures for Comcast, RCN and Verizon FIOS Cable Television
If you are a Comcast customer and are experiencing service problems or have a billing question, first contact Comcast's customer service department at 703-730-2225, or 1-800-COMCAST. You may submit written questions or complaints to Customer Service, Comcast, 11101 University Boulevard, Manassas, VA 20110. Include your name, address, phone number and cable account number. Describe the problem in detail, and be sure to include your desired outcome. For more information about Comcast, visit the Comcast website
If you are a Verizon Customer and are experiencing service problems or have a billing question, call 1-800-VERIZON.
If you are a RCN customer and are experiencing service problems or have a billing question, first contact RCN's customer service department. For billing questions call 1-877-726-2455; for technical support, 1-866-832-4726.
Filing a Complaint with the Cable Television Coordinator
If your cable television concern is not satisfactorily addressed by Comcast, RCN or Verizon, you may file a complaint with the County by any one of the following methods. Please be sure to include your name, billing address, a daytime phone number and the nature of your complaint.
- Email (preferred method): firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: You may call the cable coordinator at 703-792-7380 and leave a message.
- Mail: Cable Coordinator, Office of Executive Management, 1 County Complex Court, Woodbridge, VA 22192
- Fax: 703- 792-7454, Attention Cable TV Coordinator
*Prince William County Government has no oversight or regulatory authority over telephone companies. Regular telephone service is regulated by the State Corporation Commission of Virginia (SCC). To file a complaint about a regular land based carrier, contact the SCC directly (click here to visit the website).
*If your phone service is provided by a cable television company like Comcast or Vonage, and is voice over internet (VOIP), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has regulatory authority and handles complaints. For more information, or to file a complaint, visit the FCC's website.
* Prince William County Government has no oversight or regulatory authority over high speed Internet service from any provider. The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has regulatory authority and handles complaints regarding the Internet. For more information, or to file a complaint, visit the FCC’s website.
Cable Franchises FAQ's
What are franchise fees?
Federal law allows Prince William County to charge cable TV companies, like Comcast, Verizon and RCN, fees for "renting" space in public rights-of-way. These fees are part of the negotiated franchise agreement between County government and cable companies. In Prince William County, the Franchise Fee is based on the cable company's gross revenue and the dollar amount of your monthly cable services. These funds go into the County’s general fund to pay for police, fire, schools, parks, libraries and other government services, including government and educational channels in the County.
How do I know where my easements are located?
Often individual homeowners have questions regarding utility easements on their property. Almost every property has a utility easement. Utility easements are shown on the plat that you received when you purchased your home. If you cannot locate your plat, you can contact the surveyor or title company that handled the sale of your property. Neither the Courthouse or the County Government have copies of plats.
What is the PEG fee that is shown each month on my cable bill?
The PEG (Public Education Government) fee is charged to cable subscribers by the company to support the government and education cable television channels that are part of the franchise agreements. The cable company then gives this money to the local government in the form of a grant for the purchase of cable television equipment such as cameras, lights, and editing equipment. The grant money is also used to purchase hardware and fiber for the County’s Institutional Network (INET). The amount of the grant is 1% of gross revenues and is shared with the Prince William County School System.
Can cable television companies put boxes and other equipment on my property?
The cable television companies are allowed to put their equipment in the utility easement. In most cases, each property owner has a utility easement on their property. If the box is outside the easement, the homeowner can request that the cable company move the equipment within the easement.