Cable Industry Tries To Distance Itself From Decades Of Poor Service By Eliminating The Word 'Cable'

from the good-luck-with-that dept

Annoyance with the cable industry appears to have reached the tipping point, with consumers fed up with skyrocketing prices, inflexible programming options and some of the worst customer service in any U.S. industry. The cable industry’s ingenious solution? Stop using the word cable. Last week, the cable industry held its annual trade conference, previously dubbed “The Cable Show.” Trying to distance itself from the aging, negative associations with the word “cable,” the industry has decided to rename the conference The Internet & Television Expo.

Former FCC boss turned top lobbyist Michael Powell “hates” the word cable and wanted to turn the page on the word’s negative connotations:

“I hate the name,” Michael Powell, president of NCTA, the cable industry?s trade group, said Tuesday. “It doesn?t fairly capture what they do.”…This year?s trade show was renamed to “be more centered around its future as it’s associated with the Internet,” Powell said on stage at the conference. The term “cable company,” he said, “has a proud history, but it needs to be retired.”

Of course when your entire business revolves around using coaxial cable to deliver Internet and television service, deciding to drop the word in the hopes of forcing a brand refresh might be an uphill climb. Most attendees of the show couldn’t remember the new name, and just wound up calling the conference by the old name for simplicity’s sake:

“It’s called Internet something something something, right?? said Chris Gagliano, who works at Anvato Inc., which provides online video software. “I don?t even know what it stands for.” Most people preferred to call it the ?cable show,? even if that?s not the name anymore. “I’ll probably call it that forever,” said Brian Hanrahan, a regional sales manager at Optelian, which helps build broadband networks. “Until everyone else starts calling it ‘INTX,’ I?m going to call it the cable show.”

Clearly, it’s going to take a lot more than a simple word change to erase memories of waiting days for the cable man or spending four hours trying to get an answer from Comcast’s kafka-esque phone support system. Atrocious customer service certainly isn’t the word “cable’s” fault. It’s thanks to a lack of competition and the resulting apathy, which by proxy results in skimping on subcontractor and support quality. Eliminating the word cable in the hopes of fixing this industry chain of dysfunction is kind of like trying to put out a forest fire by proudly proclaiming it’s a walnut — it’s just not going to get to the root of the problem.

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Comments on “Cable Industry Tries To Distance Itself From Decades Of Poor Service By Eliminating The Word 'Cable'”

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35 Comments
DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

they need to do two things:
> stop being awful, and change the names of the companies.

If you give them two things, they will consider it a choice. Executives will pick “change the name”, decree that the problem is fixed, and continue being awful.

If you give them one thing: stop being awful
they will have to actually think about it, even if the thought of treating customers well makes the executives very uncomfortable.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

They are allowed to be awful. I don’t have a problem with that. They can go on being as awful as they want to be for all I care as long as they allow someone else to come along and provide a competing service that isn’t awful and therein lies the problem. It’s not that they need to stop being awful so much as they need to stop being EVIL.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Doesn’t work. Telefonica was widely hated for its awful customer service and general quality to the point they were PROHIBITED from selling broadband for more users. The name Telefonica became toxic so Vivo (mobile phone carrier) took over and absorbed it (Vivo is a subsidiary of the same shitty group Telefonica but worked separately here). Guess what happened? Vivo is rapidly going down the same path.

Names mean nothing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

And that would likely be because your experience with piss poor service and anti-consumer behavior is limited to only the one company as you likely have no other source to choose from for such an experience. This, of course, is the root of the problem. Had you the opportunity to be under-served by a different cable company you would be secure in the knowledge that this experience is quite common throughout the industry, although Comcast appears to blazes the trail as the industry leader in providing such an experience, ever finding innovative ways to rise above the rest in this area. Contempt for the customer of this magnitude may only be possible after at a certain level. Who knows what they could have achieved if they would have been allowed to absorb TWC. They had a dream.

orbitalinsertion (profile) says:

I remember the Good Old Days™ where cable throttled you (or simply did not build in enough bandwidth on the local loop and oversold their capacity) for using you internet because apparently everyone and their grandmother was torrenting 24×7 and the piracy angle was just a bit of frosting on the cake.

Cable, you’ve come so far.

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