Cablevision Strings Cables Like Blind Might A Christmas Tree

Peter writes:

Some construction work was ongoing in the neighborhood, and it disrupted the underground cable services. Verizon and the electric provider fixed their wires within a day. Cablevision couldn’t figure out how to fix their underground wiring, so they proceeded to run a coaxial cable out of the pedestal on my front property, up a tree in my front yard, where it was tied on with some copper wire, thrown across the street, tied to a lamppost head again with copper wire, dropped back down the lamppost, into another pedestal. It sat like this for well over a month and Cablevision insisted there was nothing they could do about it…

I made three service appointments to fix it and each time I was told my picture quality was fine. I eventually got them to fix it by lying through my teeth that I was about to cut down my tree. There was absolutely no lighting protection, and in addition there were exposed conductors from the previous underground installation hanging out right in the open. But also, no one from Cablevision ever asked to use my tree as an ad-hoc telephone pole, and in fact, when they were installing the wire in the tree, one of the technicians gave us a hard time about accessing our own driveway. Am I surprised? Not at all. But I did promise Cablevision I was going to get them some press over it.

Happy to oblige.

Cul-de-sac’s Cut Cable Causes Cablevision Craziness


Edit Your Comment

  1. Jaysyn was banned for: says:

    They can’t run coaxial able like that. Just get the PSC to come look at it, they will fix it quickly after that.

    Barring that you can just cut it everytime they attach it to your tree.

  2. Jaysyn was banned for: says:

    Oh, hell. Already resolved, damned jump.

  3. mac-phisto says:

    Cablevision Strings Cables Like Blind Might A Christmas Tree

    what does that even mean?

  4. Anks329 says:

    I would have chopped the branch off first, and then called to complain. They can’t just use your property like that without permission.

  5. Tremblor says:

    I used to work for Digsafe, the guys who make those ugly orange, red, blue, etc arrows all over the road. This neighborhood has buried utilities. The power and phone guys have contractors that know how to do their jobs. The cable guys is usually just the dude in the truck, and the last thing he wants to do is go digging trenches and hit a house power line.

    They probably have to wait until THEIR contractor can get out there and much about with underground utilities. Normally when they run a cable service to a house that has had power and telephone in the ground for a while they go WAY around the power lines, just to be safe. And where power and telephone are usually buried several feet deep the cable guys tend to dig a 2″ trench and dump it there. In a couple of seasons your wire is above ground again.

  6. donkeyjote says:

    So Blind is a noun now?

  7. mergatroy6 says:

    Where is this guy located? Cablevision and Con-Ed only cross over in Brooklyn and the Bronx. Original article says Verizon started the problem when wiring for FiOS home installation. I thought Verizon didn’t win the NYC franchise yet and as far as I know they don’t usually dig up for a internet only install. I think I need more info.

  8. picardia says:

    @donkeyjote: And it has been one for a while, though it’s usually seen in the context “the blind.” Articles are frequently dropped in headlines.

    You also have Venetian blinds, but let’s all agree they are not pertinent here.

  9. ThinkerTDM says:

    @picardia: Unless you are a blind individual from Venice.

  10. Ben Popken says:

    Actually, let’s avoid grammar-picking the headline! How bout it.

  11. ThinkerTDM says:

    @picardia: Or a hunting supply company from Venice, that specializes in hiding places.

  12. ErinYay says:

    @Ben Popken:

    Sure, but it’s *really* kind of bad. If it was a “there/their” or “its/it’s” issue, maybe, but we’re missing whole entire words here. Can’t it be edited?

  13. sleze69 says:

    @donkeyjote: Hence, “The Blind leading the Blind.” – Like Catholic marriage counciling.

  14. mtaylor924 says:

    @mergatroy6: Cablevision and ConEd also share service areas in most of Westchester county as well, which also happens to be where Verizon is furiously burying FIOS lines in order to compete with Cablevision’s spotty service and highly compressed HD channels.

    Also, side note, I’m noticing today that when I click in to read the full story and comments, I’m losing the author info that’s usually on the right at the bottom of the article.

  15. donkeyjote says:

    Also, w00t. Social Engineering ftw.

  16. howie_in_az says:

    Couldn’t the OP simply bill Cablevision for unauthorized use of his property?

  17. rmz says:

    @ErinYay: Have you never read a newspaper headline? Articles are dropped all the time. The meaning is “Cablevision strings cables like a blind person might string a Christmas tree.”

  18. humphrmi says:

    I would have gone with the tree-chopping threat myself. Or I would start yanking on the wire ’till it fell down and then called the cops about the down wire, and let them deal with the cable company.

  19. mergatroy6 says:

    @mtaylor924: thanks. I always forget about “upstate” NY.

  20. kc2idf says:

    @donkeyjote: Yes.

  21. jjeefff says:

    What’s the rule for allowing cable companies to place a pedestal on your front lawn. Do the cable companies need permission? Does this person have any leverage by demanding the pedestal’s removal?

  22. JoeTan says:

    dammit that’s funny. What a bunch of do nothings. That’s what happens when you make people pass a “drug” test to work a stoner’s job. You get people without a clue.

  23. forgottenpassword says:

    At the place I moved into a few years ago (residential street) the coax cable comes from the pole ACROSS THE STREET & tied to a piece of the roof & then left to dangle across the wall. If I didnt know any better…. i’d think it was done by a cable thief.

    I swear…. some of these cable guys must get their training from red green.

  24. donkeyjote says:

    @jjeefff: Right of way, which is dictated by the house deed, and given to the city by way of city-tude.

  25. Pylon83 says:

    The cable companies Franchise agreement allows them to use the easement that the city has on the property. That’s why they can more or less do whatever they need to in order to ensure service is still working, up to and including breaking locks on fenced in back yards, etc. to get to pedestals.

  26. SpdRacer says:

    That tree looks to be in the right-of-way, it is outside of his fence which, in most cities, defines the property line.

  27. forgottenpassword says:


    Growing up on a farm, we had the local water utilities (who were installing a new water line or something) rip up a fence that kept our horses from running wild in the streets. As a result 8 horses escaped & one was hit by a car.

  28. Starfury says:

    Years back I had a problem with SBC; the previous owners of the house had THREE lines from the pole to my house. Since I didn’t need them I asked to have the extra ones removed. They said “no” so I told them I would go out, disconnect the wires and leave them hanging from the pole in the middle of the street.

    They were out there 2 days later removing all their extra lines.

  29. failurate says:

    @sleze69: We did the Catholic marriage retreat, it was F’d up. Our introductory speaker was a guy that was divorced but happily dating someone new, and he was tripping the gaydar.

    The closing speaker was a 30 year old married woman with six kids, and her topic of choice? natural birth control.

    Brilliant stuff Catholic Church.

  30. framitz says:


    Red Green is talented and obviously more skilled than these cable guys.

    Please don’t put him in the same class.

  31. JGB says:

    Those digsafe people are asshats in my opinion. Couple of years ago, I bought a house and spent a lot of time and money getting the landscaping and yard back in shape. A few days into the first summer that everything looked good outside, I came home to find bright orange, red, and yellow arrows painted all over my yard and bushes. There was no digging or construction going on anywhere nearby and none started after that, but I let it go. But, they proceeded to come back every couple of weeks for the next 3 months and do it again.

    I called and called and called. Never speak to the same person twice, the person you are speaking with has never heard of any other people you previously spoke with (and had promised to do something about this), etc, etc…

    After a few months, one of the customer service techs happened to mention that they would not come in your yard if there were dangerous animals. I had a wooden fence (which didn’t keep the painters out), so I borrowed a doberman from a friend. A few days later, I actually got a call from digrite demanding that I leave work and come home immediately to restrain my dog so they could enter my property. I told them I would be there in 10 minutes and then did not answer my cell for the rest of the day.

  32. headhot says:

    yea, just keep cutting it everytime they come out.. they will get the point eventually

  33. HOP says:

    that crap would have lasted about 10 min after my first call….the cable would be cut into little pieces,along with some tree branches…..this is kinda hard to believe…..

  34. Anonymous says:

    Oh, wow, this reminds me of my two year debacle with Time Warner Cable and I wasn’t even a customer.

    When I bought my house, there was a coax cable that ran from a hole in my front yard (to go under the street, I assume) to the junction box in my backyard. Mind you, I didn’t sign up for cable.

    I called to get them to bury or remove the cable and they said, ok… to make the story short, they never came out to bury the cable even with me calling every month for over a year. The problem was that they couln’t create a service ticket for it since I wasn’t a customer. One idiot actually told me I should sign up as a customer temporarily so I could submit a ticket. I laughed so hard at that I almost passed out. I asked “why would I ever want to be your customer when I can’t even get something fixed before signing up?”

    Nevertheless, after about 14 months, they finally buried the cable. Two months later, they ran another one across my back yard to a neighbor’s house. I had to go through the whole process again from scratch.

    It took every ounce of self control I had to not cut that cable myself.

  35. fett387 says:

    Charter cable does the same thing in my neighborhood. They just run the cable down the road in the gutter to about ten different houses. It’s great. I needed some coaxle to set up my dish network. I went out and cut some of the wire at night. Someone must have sent in a service call because they came out, spliced it, and left it in the gutter again. I needed some more so I took the newly spliced cable because it had the male ends already installed. Thanks Charter!

  36. wgrune says:


    Interfering with or damaging communications/utilities equipment is a felony in some states…I would not reccomend this.

  37. JiminyChristmas says:

    @Tremblor: You have struck upon one of my peeves when it comes to cable installation. In my locale, Comcast is the provider and their policy is to bury the coaxial cables from the house to the pole on all new installations. While there are code requirements for how deep power lines have to be buried, there is no such thing for cable.

    So, if you’re wondering why the coaxial is only buried under 2″ of dirt it’s because there’s no rule that instructs otherwise. I experienced this myself a few years ago. I was planting flowers and found the cable under 4″ of dirt while digging with a garden trowel. The cable fools don’t need to go two feet deep but the least they could do is get their cable out of the way of typical landscaping work. What a joke.

    If I had been in the OP’s position I wouldn’t have wasted so much time with the cable company. My next call would have been to the local building code enforcement office; they live for this sort of stuff. Cable strung from a tree? For a month?

  38. Xerloq says:

    @Pylon83: They’ll do more than that. I’ve seen ’em drive a Bobcat through a fence (no gate) to get to the backyard of a neighbor who was on vacation to get to the box in their backyard.

    I was glad I was home (at 3:00 am) to let them into our yard to show them the box wasn’t in our yard.

  39. donkeyjote says:

    @wgrune: No, damaging cables in a proper right of way would be a crime. Cables in-properly/illegally on your property would be fair game, with fair notice.

  40. Suttin says:

    I would have “accidentally” cut the cable while cutting my grass.

  41. No one wants cables running across their property, but especially with buried cable systems you are at the mercy of fences. Where I worked in the city of Tampa everything was aerial so it’s wasn’t as big of a deal, but I dreaded working in the county and hopping over fences to locate the system taps.

  42. renegadebarista says:

    @Ben Popken: @mac-phisto:

    It almost seems like the headline was supposed to read, “Cablevision strings cable like blind might STRING a christmas tree.” Because after all nothing gets your point across like implying that someone who works for a major corporation is physically handicapped.
    Maybe its the fact that I’m legally blind that I find the headline particularly offensive since I run my own business, contributed to my community, am raising a child, and still have to put up with narrow minded, uneducated attempts at humor like this one. Its sad that this is the only way Ben feels he can get his point across.

  43. Inglix_the_Mad says:

    @Pylon83: “The cable companies Franchise agreement allows them to use the easement that the city has on the property. That’s why they can more or less do whatever they need to in order to ensure service is still working, up to and including breaking locks on fenced in back yards, etc. to get to pedestals.”

    They did this to my friend once, busting in a pair of boards to get into his back yard. My friend thought it might have been vandals at first. He did the only reasonable thing in a neighborhood that s**tty after he found out what happened. He tore down one side of the fence, put a small chickenwire fence around the pedestal with all sorts of warnings, et al., about damaging or theft of equipment. He also put in burnt out lights in the motion spotlight. In 15 days the box was moved to another spot. Why? Well he created a nice red flag that it might be valuable, et al. That box must’ve been broken into or smashed at least once a night. They couldn’t even get it completely fixed before it was smashed again!

    A former employee of mine had the cable company erect an above-ground pedestal in his front yard uglying it up. His lawn was trashed for two months straight as some random drunks kept taking out the pedestal. They installed an in-ground one after enough grief was given. My former employee would neither confirm nor deny that he knew whom was taking out the post. He would confirm that it was not him and that he did have to repair his lawn each time.

  44. u1itn0w2day says:

    The problem with phone and cable is that since they are either considered a utility or fall under low voltage contracting the local regulations really don’t do anything to prevent crap like that.Some communities don’t even have low voltage regulations for stuff like computer hook-up and wiring.

    I understand most utilities have some sort of right of way but still to tie a cable around a tree,what if that tree falls down during a storm and causes more damage.Or what if a lightig hit on the cable jumps from the cable to the tree causing a fire?Most easements cover ACCESS to a property but the attachment of a cable to an object like a tree or building?You would think there would be minimum standards even for temporary repairs especially on private property.Wouldn’t there be still liability for collateral damage?

  45. n0ia says:

    Isn’t the whole point of having UNDERGROUND utilities to keep them UNDERGROUND and not over head – thus removing the potential of fallen lines and problems caused by bad weather?

    And to those that are confused by the headline, it’s easier if it’s read like this:

    “Cablevision Strings Cables Like [a] Blind [person] Might [string] a Christmas Tree”

  46. Nighthawke says:

    Our drop to our house was sagging to the point where a tall enough vehicle might hook it and rip it out, wiping out a 5 pair line to our house. I gave them a call and they kind of pooh-poohed it until I informed them of the amount of damages that it might cause IF it did get ripped out of the wall.

    They had two trucks out there in 15 minutes tightening things up.
    That was AT&T.

    I saw one where one wire did rip an interface box off the wall of a house, what a mess! That was Verizon’s work and it took them 2 months before they came out to fix it, so go figure.

  47. subterrene says:

    After a hurricane where I live (East coast) the overhead utility wires (phone, electric) were fixed within two weeks. The cable line? Left to dangle at head height for 3 months until I badgered them enough (Time Warner).