Communications Policy and Regulation Division

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Open during regular business hours 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday

703-324-5902
TTY 711

12000 Government Center Parkway
Suite 433

Rick Ellrod,
Director

Presentations to Community Groups and Schools

The Communication Policy and Regulation Division conducts outreach events that provide information on cable service in the county, services provided by CPRD and the Department of Cable and Consumer Services, and new developments in telecommunications. Your homeowner’s association, community center, or other group can arrange for a presentation that addresses your needs and interests. Email or call to schedule a presentation.


Scheduled Events and Presentations:

January 2020

  • January 30, 2020 7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. "Digital Literacy: Smart Homes," Lorton Library
    9520 Richmond Highway, Lorton, VA

February 2020

  • February 1, 2020 8 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Mount Vernon Town Meeting Mount Vernon High School
    8515 Old Mount Vernon Road, Alexandria, VA
  • February 5, 2020 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. "Digital Literacy: Smart Homes," Reston Community Center
    2310 Colts Neck Road, Reston, VA

March 2020

  • March 11, 2020 6:30-7:30 p.m. "Digital Literacy: Keeping Up With Your Smart Home," Reston Library
    11925 Bowman Towne Drive, Reston, VA

April 2020

  • April 14, 2020 7:30-8:30 p.m. "Digital Literacy: Keeping Up With Your Smart Home," Patrick Henry Library
    101 Maple Avenue E., Vienna, VA
  • April 20, 2020 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. "Watching TV on the Internet," Reston Community Center
    2310 Colts Neck Road, Reston, VA
  • April 25, 2020 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. "Multicultural Festival, Woodrow Wilson Library
    6101 Knollwood Drive, Falls Church, VA

May 2020

  • May 5, 2020 10-11:30 a.m. "Digital Literacy: Keeping Up With Your Smart Home," Lifetime Learning Institute (LLI), Mason District Government Center
    6507 Columbia Pike, Annandale, VA
  • May 13, 2020 7:30-9 p.m. "Digital Literacy: Keeping up with your Smart Home," Springfield Forest Civic Association
    6501 Kalmia Street, Springfield, VA

June 2020

  • June 30, 2020 9:40-11:00 a.m. "Buying and Using a New TV" Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Tallwood Campus
    4210 Roberts Road, Fairfax, VA


Topics Available for Free Presentations to Community Groups, Libraries, and Residents:

Getting the Best from Your Cable Company

Learn about the customer service standards that apply to cable television and ways to deal with cable customer service problems such as untimely telephone response or missed service appointments, outages, unclear or distorted picture or sound, billing issues, unavailability of service. Find out how to file consumer complaints and get assistance and also how to report a cable safety or construction issue in your neighborhood. Hear the latest developments on set-top boxes and other home equipment.

Watching TV on the Internet

Today’s TV’s, computers, and mobile devices offer “over-the-top” options to watch movies and TV programs via streaming video over the Internet. Services such as Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Amazon, Sling TV, and Apple TV provide new alternatives. “Cord-cutters” are replacing, or supplementing, their cable television subscriptions with such Internet video sources. The Fairfax County Department of Cable and Consumer Services will discuss the benefits and limitations of these choices.

Buying and Using a New TV

This presentation will clearly explain the features of high-definition digital televisions, including the clarity of the pictures displayed and other advantages. Learn to determine what TV types and sizes may be best for you. Find out about “Smart TV’s” with access to the Internet. Discover the latest features of TV’s, including “streaming” of movies and other programming. The program includes a thorough “hand-out” for those attending the class. The information will assist attendees in wading through the complicated maze of TV features and types of models. Also, it will help residents by steering them away from digital TV’s being sold with not-so-modern or less-desirable features. The discussion will cover hooking up an antenna to your digital TV or an older analog TV in order to get free programs. Individuals will have an opportunity to ask questions.

Connecting Your Home

Residents in Fairfax County have options that include two cable companies; “over-the-top” Internet video; satellite; and over-the-air TV. The Fairfax County Department of Cable and Consumer Services will discuss the benefits and limitations of these options.

Communications Policy: Federal, State, and Local

Changes in communications policy are driven by a complex array of federal, state, and local laws and decisions. This update includes the FCC’s likely trajectory under a new Administration; the role of Virginia’s General Assembly; the things the local cable franchising does and does not control; recent developments regarding community-owned telecommunications systems.

Fiber vs. Copper

Those who are still using traditional copper phone lines will not be able to do so for long. Verizon has a project underway to migrate all users to fiber. The new fiber connections have many advantages but also require some changes in how we rely on our telephone service. Become informed on issues for 911 calls and backup power.

Making Your Own TV Programs

Find out how to produce your own TV programs and get them on the air (public access); continuing education via cable; and the role of community access channels in government transparency.

Understanding Your Cable Bill

Do you want to know more about the charges that appear on your cable bill, or perhaps ways to challenge a charge that you think should not be there? Did you know that you should be notified at least 30 days before a rate increase occurs? Discuss with experts how you may be able to lower your costs. Can you save money by changing to different types of phone service? Learn why regular “landline” phone service is not necessary for a home security or alarm system.

Who's Digging in My Yard? Dealing with Cable Company Construction Problems

Presentation includes how to deal with safety issues and other problems caused by cable company construction such as the installation of lines and equipment boxes (both in public streets and on private property); easement issues; restoration of damaged lawns and plants; and lack-of-notice of construction. Explanation of the rights of residents and the role of County inspectors in assisting homeowners and ensuring safe construction practices will be discussed.

Digital Literacy: TV and Beyond

Digital Literacy is the set of skills needed to survive in the Information Age. Becoming digitally literate requires an understanding of the vast and ever-changing array of information sources, how to manage or cope with technology delivering the information and how to make sense of the huge amount of information that we are subjected to each day. Television, radio, newspapers, magazines, social media and, of course, the internet are increasingly important sources of information necessary to our daily lives. The Fairfax County Department of Cable and Consumer Services will discuss how to evaluate the information sources and delivery technologies available today with a goal toward helping you to effectively use technology to find, identify, critically analyze, and use information in the digital age.

Digital Literacy: Keeping up with your Smart Home

The Internet of Things has found a home – literally – in “Smart Home” technologies and services. From lights to thermostats to speakers, cameras, refrigerators and garage door openers, these Internet-connected devices are designed to provide homeowners with comfort, convenience, security and energy savings. They connect with each other and with service providers, automating actions based on homeowner preferences and sharing consumer usage data.  The Fairfax County Department of Cable and Consumer Services will help you stay smarter than your home by exploring Smart Home devices and services, including their history and the policy concerns regarding data sharing and privacy that accompany this burgeoning industry.

Network Neutrality: Where We’re Headed

Over twenty million comments were filed with the Federal Communications Commission prior to its December 14, 2017, decision to eliminate open Internet access, or “net neutrality.” This unprecedented level of interest from the general public was fired by widespread speculation about whether the FCC’s action would result in what one commissioner called a “Mad Max version of the Internet,” lacking in rules and consumer protections. Hear about how the debate came to this point, how the FCC’s action will affect Internet users, and what happens next.

Fairfax Virtual Assistant