More Than Half Of All People Want To Ditch Their Cable Provider, If Only They Could

from the what-competition? dept

Back in April, we noted that in a filing with the FCC, Comcast insisted that it had been voted one of the world’s “most admired companies” as it sought to hit back at the idea that it was where innovation went to die (and that would get worse if it was allowed to merge with Time Warner). Of course, we pointed out that Comcast did what Comcast did best and was being quite misleading about it. The Fortune list of “most admired companies” does include Comcast… but only in the “cable and satellite providers” category, which only has four companies. And, more importantly, Comcast couldn’t crack the top 50 in the full list of the companies that are actually the most admired.

And, of course, Comcast recently won Consumerist’s World’s Worst Company award. And, just a few weeks ago, the famed American Customer Satisfaction Index announced that Comcast and Time Warner Cable have the two lowest customer satisfaction ratings of any ISP in the US — and had scores so low that they were basically the most hated companies in America across any industry. Yes, people hate Comcast and Time Warner more than, say, banks, insurance companies or airlines.

And, just to pile on, a new survey has found that more than half of all cable subscribers would leave their current provider if they felt there was a legitimate alternative out there — though 70% felt that they had no real competition to go to. 72% noted that as these companies became larger, they made things worse, not better, for consumers. And, 73% felt that cable companies were “predatory” in their practices in taking advantage of consumers. Not surprisingly, the report found that Comcast and Time Warner Cable customers were the most likely to be interested in cutting the cord and ditching their cable service altogether.

So, uh, yeah: for all of Comcast insisting how great its merger will be with Time Warner Cable, if allowed, it would appear that pretty much everyone else recognizes that these are two giant companies who have specialized in abusing their market power to not just limit competition, but to then offer consumers terrible, terrible service.

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Companies: comcast, time warner cable

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Comments on “More Than Half Of All People Want To Ditch Their Cable Provider, If Only They Could”

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andypandy says:

Re: Re:

Actually it is the monopoly syndrome , the same as is happening to the entertainment industry with their copyright monopoly.
their copyright monopoly and their monopoly on access to content is causing them to believe they are capable of doing whatever they want. The government supports this as a big monopoly will give them lots of money, not taxes as those are virtually non existent , but money paid to politicians to save their monopoly even if it means the business they are involved n collapses from high prices and inferior products, like movies for the entertainment industry and network infrastructure for the ISP’s

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Not a suprise

I’ve had a number of different cable providers over the years in a number of different places, and Comcast is the worst of the lot by a good margin.

I’ve only had one, and it isn’t Comcast or TWC. It is actually one of the better cable providers. They are up pretty high on Netflix’s speed list, and I’ve not had too much of a problem with them over the years (except, of course, when their network goes down and I have to call them and let them know, which seems to happen every couple of months, and they tend to treat me like an idiot and assume that it is something wrong with my computer or modem.)

I’d gladly ditch them if I could get my broadband from someone — anyone — else (I don’t care one whit about cable TV itself).

I’d drop mine in a heartbeat, FOR EXACTLY THIS REASON. I am a cable-cutter. I want internet; I want it at a decent speed when I ask for it (and while I may be a “power user”, the actual statistics from my router suggests that I am not;) and I don’t want to play games with them.

What really bothers me is that they always seem to take the roach motel model for everything they do…they make it really damn easy to sign up for stuff but then it takes an act of god to get them to remove and/or stop charging you for services you don’t want. When I cut the cable, they kept trying to get me to switch to basic cable. Then, when I finally got them to actually cut the cable, they told me that I still got the local channels through their line, and they would still charge me for those channels (even though they are available for free OTA.) When I threatened to drop them entirely, they removed the local-channels only item from the bill and raised my internet cost by $10 (not bundled, so I get to pay more.)

Unfortunately, my distance from the phone company (which I hate far more than my cable provider,) is such that I can get sub-1mbps DSL or crappy wifi/wimax speeds. No FIOS, and AT&T came by recently trying to sell me 4G Broadband with lame caps as part of their “U-Verse” so I know that even they know DSL isn’t much of an option to me.

Jon Renaut (profile) says:

Re: sounds like a Comcast-sponsored study

I’ve lived in Washington DC for about 7 years and, up until maybe a year ago, Comcast was the only choice for broadband except for Verizon DSL which I wouldn’t consider an effective alternative.

Also, if Comcast was messing with the numbers, wouldn’t they have messed with them the other way? Showing how great the competition is and how lovely it is that so many people chose Comcast?

mcinsand (profile) says:

Re: Re: sounds like a Comcast-sponsored study

>Also, if Comcast was messing…

That’s my point. To have 25-30% of the people surveyed thinking that they have competitive choices is ridiculously high.

To be serious, I was sort of joking. I would not be surprised if 25-30% of the people responded that they had an alternative, but that would only be because they never actually put much thought or investigation into it. Some time ago, I got a rude awakenening when I thought I could take advantage of competition: Time Warner versus AT&T DSL. The best price I could get was right at the same per month, although the AT&T had lower bandwidth while coming with a home phone line. The (hyperactively aggressive) AT&T employee kept asking when we could schedule my switch in a bizarre version of the ‘Who’s on First’ routine. I’d tell her that there is no advantage to AT&T, and she’d remind about the ‘free’ house phone line. Then, I’d reiterate that I have no use for a house phone line… and she’d get back to pushing for an install date.

The more I read, the more this seems to be the standard case; the differences are so-so, but you aren’t going to get anyone really competing for your business. We have no competition. The people that think we do simply don’t know the situation.

Jon Renaut (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: sounds like a Comcast-sponsored study

Ah, ok, that makes more sense.

I was on the phone with Verizon last night talking about FIOS service at a house where I’m one of the property managers and they were similarly clueless, though not that pushy. She didn’t even flinch when I told her I was going to cancel service completely after they lied about what my bill would be.

Even where there is competition (I can switch to Comcast there), no one seems to have any incentive to compete.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: sounds like a Comcast-sponsored study

I’m about an hour north of you and those (Comcast or Verizon DSL) are our only available choices. They’re both awful. Comcast’s physical wiring plant in my neighborhood features exposed wiring laying on front lawns (they didn’t both to trench it) as well as badly-maintained junction boxes whose covers are poorly attached…if at all. Verizon has clearly written off their copper plant and support calls about DSL are answered by ignorant, illiterate, incompetent morons in India who have been programmed to avoid providing support at any and all costs.

I would love to have an Estonian level of service and support but thanks to the assholes at Comcast and the douchebags at Verizon, I can’t get anything remotely close.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: sounds like a Comcast-sponsored study

Ironically, about the mental institution residents… Comcast will often sign deals with institutions to wire the building for internet/cable tv like a mental institutions or prisons under the condition that they now own the infrastructure. IE. Once wired up, the customer can no longer leave Comcast unless it decides to remove the existing wiring and replace it with something else.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: sounds like a Comcast-sponsored study

I don’t know about mental institutions, but I do know that these kinds of arrangements aren’t unusual with apartment buildings. The one my daughter lives in is an example: it’s Comcast all the way by contract with the owners. You can’t even get a POTS line, you have to use Comcast’s VoIP if you want something like a landline.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: sounds like a Comcast-sponsored study

70% is on its own a gruesome number for Comcast. Anything above 50% is abysmal. Heck, even anything above 20% is something worth dealing with in a monopoly context.

Yes, other companies with market shares above 80% can be seen as acceptable, but they are not the kind of I/O-monopoly as Comcast are. The choice is holy, marketshare is less so.

Anonymous Coward says:

cant imagine why, but there are never any bills proposed, let alone pushed through to being law, that protected the people. even in this sort of situation, politicians always ensure that a business can sue a customer if the customer wants to get out of a contract, but that protection and ability is never, or only extremely available when a company or industry breaks the contract by not supplying the customer with what was promised at the start. what makes this all the more disgraceful is that the companies in this type of conflict, use tax payers money that is allotted to them by the politicians and still dont fulfill their obligations. it seems that this doesn’t matter and nor does the non-reimbursement of the funds!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

A big chunk of that allotted taxpayer money goes right back to politicians in the form of campaign contributions from the monopolies. That’s why legislators could care less about the public suffering (suffering people still pay taxes), but break the sound barrier in their rush to protect the monopolies from threats like municipal broadband.

Anonymous Coward says:

People might not be able to ditch their cable internet connection, but they can easily become a cord cutter and cut their cable TV.

Comcast may be a giant in the room for now, but they’re heading towards a collapse of a large part of their business model nearly as epic as the collapse of IBM’s business model caused by personal computers that destroyed IBM’s old monopoly.

PacW097 says:

I want to ditch my provider

Chiming in on the bandwagon.

I would ditch my provider if I could simply get one or two channels not available through any other means.

I don’t like “packages”, I don’t like paying for channels I don’t watch – which is most of them in the only package that offers the few channels I do.

B.B.C. you reading this?

Anonymous Coward says:

Here's the answer...

Expense makes having multiple providers in all areas prohibitive. So what we need is a law that says you can either own the lines OR sell to the public. If you own the lines you only to sell to retail providers at a government regulated rate. All retail providers get the same rate from the owner of the lines, but get to compete with each other in the market place for customers.

A. Nnoyed (profile) says:

Screwed by cable company after picking up DTA's.

I am moving to a condominium where standard basic cable service is paid through our HOA fees. Until January of this year those customers not subscribing to additional services were anonymous. All residents had to do was plug in cable ready televisions to receive 75 channels. All residents were notified last fall that the cable company was going all digital and viewers would have to pick up Digital Terminal Adapters in order to continue to receive programming. Two would be supplied under the Bulk Billing Contract. Additional DTA’s would be available at a $2.00 per month rental fee. I contended that this was a price increase since before the change residents could install as many TV’s as there were cable TV outlets in the apartment. Normally when a resident subscribed to additional services they were offered promotional rates for the first six months to a year. When I picked up the required DTA’s in in January in order to continue to receive the programming that the HOA paying for, I asked the representative if picking up the DTA’s would affect my status as a new customer. The representative said it would not.

When I attempted to sign up for new service last month I asked if there were any promotions, the representative stated I would not be entitled to a new customer promotional rates because when I picked up the DTA’s I established an account and now was a customer. So I was screwed because the representative lied to me and provided incorrect information. The rate I was quoted in January for the services I requested, was $139.00 per month. The non promotional rate I was quoted last month was $201.00 per month an increase of $62.00 per month or $744.00 over one year.

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