& cplSiteName &

Comcast-TWC: Merger of Equals in Poor Service?

Mari Silbey
3/25/2014
50%
50%

Consumers Union, the activist group and policy division of Consumer Reports, thinks the latest poor showings by Comcast and Time Warner Cable in a customer satisfaction survey should give regulators plenty of pause when considering the merger between the two companies.

The Consumer Reports National Research Center has published the new results of a survey asking consumers to rank television and Internet services. Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) ranked 15 out of 17 for value and customer support. Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) scored even worse, sliding in at 16 out of 17 for overall television service and faring particularly badly in the categories of value, reliability, and customer support.

"Both Comcast and Time Warner Cable rank very poorly with consumers when it comes to value for the money and have earned low ratings for customer support," said Delara Derakhshani, policy counsel for Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. "A merger combining these two huge companies would give Comcast even greater control over the cable and broadband Internet markets, leading to higher prices, fewer choices, and worse customer service for consumers."

In arguing for the acquisition of Time Warner Cable, Comcast has said that combining forces would allow it to innovate faster and accelerate deployment of new services. Executives have also maintained that a merger would not decrease competition because the two companies have no customer overlap.

However, even though the creation of a larger entity would give Comcast more purchasing power with programmers, the company has been quick to say that a deal does not mean its monthly subscription fees would go down. Therefore, to improve consumers' perception of value in the future, the combined cable company would have to deliver on its promises of better service, at least enough to compensate for continued high prices. (See Comcast Strikes $45B Deal for TWC and Comcast's TWC Coup: 3 Things to Know.)

Neither Comcast nor Time Warner Cable responded to requests for comment on the latest survey results in time for publication.

Expect to hear more arguments for and against Comcast's proposed acquisition deal in the near future as the merger regulatory review process heats up in Washington, DC. The Senate Committee on the Judiciary will hold a hearing to examine the impact of the deal on consumers next Wednesday, April 2.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

(12)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
4/18/2014 | 4:32:22 PM
Let's pretend
Here's an interesting report: Time Warner Cable Pretends Customer Complaints Don't Exist

That's one way to improve customer satisfaction -- pretend nobody's complaining. 
DHagar
50%
50%
DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/26/2014 | 1:03:12 PM
Comcast-TWC: Merger of Equals in Poor Service?
nasimson, I fully agree.  All I see is the opportunity to have a bigger player that delivers poor service - with a market dominance that limits consumer choice. 

But I also agree that the consumer is likely to be the loser because I don't think they will rule against the merger.
nasimson
50%
50%
nasimson,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/26/2014 | 12:15:52 PM
casualty in this merger
Two losers dont make a winner. Fewer larger media conglomerates is not good for freedom of information and american people at large. So customer service is not the only casualty in this merger.
gconnery
50%
50%
gconnery,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/25/2014 | 10:12:21 PM
Karma
Seems unlikely this is relevant to the business case, but it would certainly be Karma if the two company's extraordinary inattention to service came back to limit their ability to function as a business.  Appropriate really.
Mitch Wagner
100%
0%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
3/25/2014 | 5:16:31 PM
Re: Synergies!
I agree. I'm not seeing much of anything here that will dissuade the federal government from approving this merger.
mendyk
0%
100%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/25/2014 | 4:59:26 PM
Re: Mergers of equals
In the case of what passes for content, it's more like 200 turds, not just two.
FbytF
0%
100%
FbytF,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/25/2014 | 3:53:03 PM
Mergers of equals
"However, even though the creation of a larger entity would give Comcast more purchasing power with programmers, the company has been quick to say that a deal does not mean its monthly subscription fees would go down" Of course they won't go down, they'll in fact go up. Why? Because they can, that's why. 

Two turds make a pile!
spc_isdnip
100%
0%
spc_isdnip,
User Rank: Lightning
3/25/2014 | 3:41:25 PM
Another day, another service disaster
Comcast doesn't seem to have its act together any more.  Their phone service across our area went out today.  Not outbound calls -- there was dial tone -- but inbound calls all failed.  This took at least four hours to fix, though I don't know when it began.  Back in the day, what telco would have let thousands of lines not be reachable for hours?  Of course the ILECs today have no qualms about that either, noting how Verizontal left a lot of lines in New York City down for several weeks recently (more recently than Sandy), and tried to use it as a sales pitch for FiOS.

They think they save money by diverting service calls to the Phillipines and the like, where low-paid workers read a script about rebooting your PC or sending a reset signal to your cable box.  But it is a farce; it is just poor service.  It was well after I had spent some time on the phone wtih a filipina call center dweeb that they put on a recording saying there was a major service outage in my area.  Sloppy, and a big waste of fmy time.  RCN's phone service is much better.
mendyk
100%
0%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/25/2014 | 2:58:25 PM
Re: Synergies!
Being stupid isn't a crime (thankful for that), and being less than competent isn't a good enough reason on its own to prevent two businesses from merging.
kq4ym
100%
0%
kq4ym,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/25/2014 | 2:21:13 PM
Re: Synergies!
Unless a lot of public outcry comes to the FCC regulator's table, it's going to be unlikely a customer dissatisfaction survey will gain much traction to prevent a merger. But, it's certainly ironic that low rated Comcast and TWC hope to join forces to give better service to customers. 
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
From The Founder
The independent evaluation of Nokia's key virtual network functions (VNFs) was a defining moment for the Finnish giant.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Nokia's Advancement Plan: Bring Old Skills to New Roles

6|29|16   |   7:57   |   (0) comments


Nokia's Sandy Motley advises women to change their mindsets; get aggressive about advancing their careers; develop strong, diverse support networks; and always bring forth learned skills to take on new challenges and different roles.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat: Cisco's Yvette Kanouff

6|28|16   |     |   (0) comments


In Silicon Valley, Steve Saunders sits down with Cisco's Yvette Kanouff for an exclusive in-depth interview.
LRTV Interviews
Comcast: Prepping Next-Gen Video Services

6|28|16   |     |   (0) comments


In this LRTV interview, Comcast's Elad Nafshi outlines where MSO stands with cloud DVR, OTT video, college and gigabit services.
LRTV Custom TV
Energy 2020: Creating Unique Standards for Cable's Unique Networks

6|28|16   |   09:30   |   (0) comments


Cable's unique network requirements require a specific set of standards for operators to increase power efficiency, according to Dan Cooper, vice president of critical infrastructure for Charter Communications and chair of the SCTE/ISBE Standards Program's Energy Management Subcommittee, and Ian Oliver, managing director of the Trenchant Group and a member of the ...
LRTV Custom TV
Masergy: 'Now Is the Time for NFV'

6|28|16   |     |   (0) comments


Hear Ray Watson, VP of Global Technology at Masergy, talk about the advantages that enterprises can leverage using Network Function Virtualization (NFV), and how Masergy takes a unique approach to solving customers' problems. For more information on Masergy, please visit www.masergy.com.
LRTV Custom TV
Masergy Leads the Charge With NFV Capabilities

6|28|16   |     |   (0) comments


Hear Tim Naramore, CTO at Masergy, talk about how focusing on solving specific customer challenges, providing self-service automation tools and being laser focused on the customer experience has enabled Masergy to be a leader in the NFV space. For more information on Masergy, please visit www.masergy.com.
LRTV Custom TV
Private Company of the Year - Affirmed Networks

6|27|16   |     |   (0) comments


At BCE 2016, Steve Saunders speaks to Hassan Ahmed about Affirmed's success.
LRTV Custom TV
Energy 2020: Growing Services, Not Consumption

6|24|16   |   07:18   |   (0) comments


Management of power requirements needs to be a key consideration as cable operators deploy new services, says Dan Cooper, vice president of critical infrastructure for Charter Communications and chair of the SCTE/ISBE Standards Program's Energy Management Subcommittee. In this video, Cooper discusses the importance of cable operators and technology partners ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei & TDC First to Launch DOCSIS 3.1 Trial in Europe

6|24|16   |     |   (0) comments


To meet the rising demands for high-speed broadband and to tackle fierce competition for 1.5 million household, TDC wanted to upgrade its network to use the latest technology. Using Huawei's DOCSIS 3.1 solution, TDC is now able to offer gigabit speeds to its customers.
LRTV Documentaries
OPNFV Summit: Key Takeaways

6|22|16   |   03:28   |   (0) comments


MANO shortfalls, an increasingly bloated open source ecosystem and the cultural challenges for network operators were among the key takeaways from the OPNFV Summit in Berlin.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Bringing Ultra Broadband to the South Pacific

6|22|16   |   7:55   |   (0) comments


At Singapore's UBBS 2016 summit, Light Reading speaks to Lim Chee Siong, Huawei's CMO in the South Pacific Region.
LRTV Custom TV
Juniper's NFV Platform

6|22|16   |     |   (0) comments


A telco cloud is a key enabler for service providers to deliver virtualized services to their customers. Juniper has a differentiated approach with an open and comprehensive NFV platform to build the cloud of the future for multiple use cases.
Upcoming Live Events
September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 6-8, 2016,
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
A new survey conducted by Heavy Reading and TM Forum shows that CSPs around the world see the move to digital operations as a necessary part of their overall virtualization strategies.
Hot Topics
'Brexit' Vote Hits BT, Vodafone
Iain Morris, News Editor, 6/24/2016
AT&T Settles on LTE for Cellular IoT
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 6/22/2016
Qualcomm Readies Lower-Band 5G Testbed
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 6/27/2016
Brexit: It's Hard to See an Upside
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 6/29/2016
Sigfox Said to Face Customer Backlash
Iain Morris, News Editor, 6/27/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
In Silicon Valley, Steve Saunders sits down with Cisco's Yvette Kanouff for an exclusive in-depth interview.
At the BCE 2016 show in Austin, ECI Telecom CEO Darryl Edwards tells Light Reading founder and CEO about the Elastic Network concept and the company's NFV and cybersecurity developments.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Our world has evolved through innovation from the Industrial Revolution of the 1740s to the information age, and it is now entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution, driven by technology. Technology is driving a paradigm shift in the way digital solutions deliver a connected world, changing the way we live, communicate and provide solutions. It can have a powerful impact on how we tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. In this radio show, Caroline Dowling, President of Communications Infrastructure & Enterprise Computing at Flex, will join Women in Comms Director Sarah Thomas to discuss the impact technology has on society and how it can be a game-changer across the globe; improving lives and creating a smarter world. Dowling, a Cork, Ireland, native and graduate of Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program, will also discuss her experience managing an international team focused on innovation in an age of high-speed change.