Cable Hearts Philter

Well, The Philter is out this week getting some well earned R&R and left the inmates running the asylum. Somehow Raynovich approved of this march toward mayhem. Interestingly, The Philter, (with hair standing on end) handed over the reins on Friday with the message I Heart Cable. Knowing how much The Philter loves his blog, in Huckabee-like fashion, I summoned some psychology professionals to unearth the unconscious motivations behind Phil's cable-friendly sendoff. Thankfully, top-notch assistance was available for only $1.60 per minute. In that New York minute, we were able to discern that deep in his cranial cavity, The Philter may be concerned that his beloved Bells will not withstand the ever escalating onslaught by U.S. cable MSOs. Undoubtedly, Phil stumbled across the results of the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Residential All-Distance Telephone Customer Satisfaction Study released earlier this month. From the press release: "The study, which measures customer satisfaction with both local and long distance telephone service, finds that cable companies rank highest in customer satisfaction in five of six U.S. regions. In 2005, just one cable company--Cox--led any of the regional customer satisfaction rankings. Cox Communications now ranks highest in three regions, while newcomers Bright House Networks and Time Warner Cable each rank highest in one region. Verizon is the sole traditional telephone company ranking highest in a region." That said, even Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ - message board) is on the ropes. While Verizon won top marks in the Mid-Atlantic region, the Bell finished fourth in its critical Northeast market, trailing Cox, Time Warner, and Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC - message board). Cablevision already has 20 percent penetration for residential telephone service, battling head-to-head against Verizon in the New York area. A report this summer from investment bank Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Inc. found incumbent telcos lost 8.8 million lines in 2005 and are on track to lose 6.8 million access lines in 2006. Some 3 million will be lost to cable alone, with most of the rest lost to wireless and broadband substitution. When it comes to Ma Bell, perhaps cable has a classic Oedipus complex? We'll have to check back with our psychoanalysts for an answer. Hey, it's only $1.60. Ñ Michael Harris, Chief Analyst, Cable Digital News
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