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Cable Can't Shake Poor Reputation

In our latest community poll, readers rate poor service performance and reliability as leading cable challenge in commercial sector.

Alan Breznick

November 26, 2013

3 Min Read
Cable Can't Shake Poor Reputation

US cable operators may like to think that they have shaken their previously poor reputations for delivering good service, but it looks like they haven't done so yet -- judging from what you're telling us.

In our latest Light Reading community poll, readers chose cable's "poor reputation for service performance and reliability" as the single greatest challenge facing cable operators in the commercial services market today as they pursue mid-size and larger firms. With 335 votes cast as of Tuesday morning, that challenge easily topped all the other choices, including "lack of a national footprint to serve firms with multiple locations" and "not enough direct fiber lines to commercial locations."

Specifically, slightly more than a third of you, or nearly 34%, selected the poor reputation choice as cable's biggest commercial challenge. Slightly less than a quarter of you, or just over 23%, picked the lack of national footprint choice. And slightly less than one-seventh of you, or more than 13%, selected the "not enough fiber lines" option.

Only one other choice, "stronger competition from entrenched telco incumbents," scored in the double-digit percentages. The other three poll choices lagged behind in the single-digit percentages.

These findings gibe with other, more scientific polls of consumers that have been conducted in recent months. In one report published by the research firm Tempkin Group in August, cable companies took four of the five lowest rankings for customer service satisfaction. And, in the last J.D. Power and Associates study of US pay-TV providers, the top MSOs consistently ranked at the bottom end of the customer satisfaction scale. (See Cable Customer Service Still Stinks.)

Cable operators do fare much better in polls conducted among commercial users. In J.D. Powers' latest business wireline satisfaction study in June, for instance, cable operators dominated the top customer satisfaction rankings for very small companies (those with fewer than 20 employees). But they fell to the middle or bottom of the pack in the small-to-midsize-business (SMB) and large enterprise categories. (See Small Firms Love Cable.)

So cable operators still have their work cut out for them in improving their public image. That poor image clearly threatens to hamper them as they try to move upmarket in the commercial services space.

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

Interested in learning more on this topic? Then come to The Future of Cable Business Services 2013, a Light Reading Live event that takes place Wednesday, December 4, 2013, at the Westin Times Square in New York City. Back by popular demand for the seventh straight year, this is a one-day conference that will examine the progress that cable operators are making in the roughly $140 billion US business telecom services market and the challenges they face in keeping up the momentum. For more information, or to register, click here .

About the Author(s)

Alan Breznick

Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

Alan Breznick is a business editor and research analyst who has tracked the cable, broadband and video markets like an over-bred bloodhound for more than 20 years.

As a senior analyst at Light Reading's research arm, Heavy Reading, for six years, Alan authored numerous reports, columns, white papers and case studies, moderated dozens of webinars, and organized and hosted more than 15 -- count 'em --regional conferences on cable, broadband and IPTV technology topics. And all this while maintaining a summer job as an ostrich wrangler.

Before that, he was the founding editor of Light Reading Cable, transforming a monthly newsletter into a daily website. Prior to joining Light Reading, Alan was a broadband analyst for Kinetic Strategies and a contributing analyst for One Touch Intelligence.

He is based in the Toronto area, though is New York born and bred. Just ask, and he will take you on a power-walking tour of Manhattan, pointing out the tourist hotspots and the places that make up his personal timeline: The bench where he smoked his first pipe; the alley where he won his first fist fight. That kind of thing.

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