Malibu Charter Office Slated for October Closure

0
216
Malibu Charter Office

Charter Communications is closing its Malibu office, located at the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Busch Drive.

Dennis Johnson, Director of Charter’s West Regional Communications, confirmed that the Malibu office will permanently close its doors on Friday, Oct. 28. 

“The Malibu store receives minimal traffic compared to our other stores,” Johnson told The Malibu Times. “It is primarily used by customers to make bill payments and request service calls. The vast majority of our customers use one of our other convenient options for these transactions.” 

Johnson directed Malibu customers to the company’s internet and call center options.  “We offer a variety of convenient options to make payments and/or schedule service,” he told The Times, offering the following contact information: customers can obtain service 24/7/365 by calling 855.757.7328 or online at spectrum.com, where a chat feature is also available.

“We encourage customers to take advantage of one of these options,” Johnson said.

The closure of the office marks the end of an era in Malibu. Charter has maintained an office in the community since the company purchased its predecessor, Los Angeles-based Falcon Cable, in 1999.

Falcon, Malibu’s original cable company, arrived in the late 1970s. It initially found a niche bringing TV service to parts of the Santa Monica Mountains where antenna reception was poor. Falcon offered an unheard of 18 channels for $14.50 per month in areas where it was sometimes challenging to tune in even the three major networks using just an antenna.

The LA Times once described Malibu-area customers of the company as “a largely captive audience,” and many residents had a love-hate relationship with the company, which offered no-frills service and was prone to frequent outages.

By 1989, the price of basic cable had risen to $21.95 for 52 channels. By 1992, Falcon was the largest independent cable company in California, with more than a million subscribers.

Charter Communications bought Falcon in 1999, on its way to becoming the second-largest communications company in the country. 

In May of this year, the North Carolina-based company acquired Time Warner Cable for $55.1 billion and began rolling out its new broadband cable, internet and phone identity, Spectrum, last month. 

As part of the consolidation effort, the company is reportedly restructuring its stores throughout the county and its home office in Charlotteville, N.C., laying off some workers and hiring others.

“Spectrum is bringing back jobs from overseas call centers, insourcing its workforce, and adding more jobs to serve the customer better,” a press release on the transition stated.  “Overall, Spectrum plans to add 20,000 jobs, the majority of whom will serve customers directly.” 

So far, the transfer from Charter to Spectrum seems to have progressed more smoothly than rival company Verizon’s transfer of local fiber optic cable service to Frontier Communications earlier this year. That transition initially left many Malibu residents without phone, internet or cable service for days or even weeks, sending many in search of other alternatives, including Charter.

The new Spectrum service has also attracted local sports fans, because the Time Warner buyout included that company’s exclusive broadcasting rights for the LA Dodgers.  

In Malibu, where Santa Ana winds, exploding power poles and other disasters often impact cable service, the skeptics are waiting to see if any cable company can deliver on its promises. Malibu’s cable woes have been a topic of conversation for more than 30 years. A system that actually works sounds too good to be true.