Cable Business Services

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 .

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albreznick 11/28/2013 | 12:44:42 PM
Re: Let me buy what I want It's interesting to see how this thread led to Australian football. Doesn't anybody care about the NFL anymore? Or even the CFL for that matter?
Liz Greenberg 11/27/2013 | 12:38:24 PM
Re: Let me buy what I want Hey RClark...yeah I know...but my teams have been up there for quite a few years.  I started as a Saints fan when I chose them by staying in St Kilda and had no better reason.  Then I was in Perth and met the fiance of the top Eagles player.  She said that I had to support them as well and here I am.  The Swans are a nice team too...is it weird to have three teams? BTW the rates aren't bad for watching AFL online.  I started with a Telstra account but now AFL has its own "channel" - http://afltv.afl.com.au/.

It is too bad that the AFL has taken so much from the NFL and NBA with respect to broadcasts.  I think that the MLB has it right...sell online subscriptions to anybody who wants to pay regardless of location.  Maybe the AFL, NFL and NBA will follow the MLB???
Liz Greenberg 11/27/2013 | 12:32:55 PM
Re: Let me buy what I want I haven't thought about Slingbox in years...I will look into it!
R Clark 11/27/2013 | 3:26:37 AM
Re: Let me buy what I want Do you follow the Saints AND the Eagles, Liz? Can't you find a team that's somewhere in the top half of the comp?

Just about every AFL media/marketing idea has been poached from NFL and NBA, ironic given how aggressively it protects its own IPR. It has its own cable channel on Foxtel (owned by Telstra & Murdoch) in Oz. In Asia, the Australian TV network broadcasts some games for free - the rest I can watch online.

Get on the Swans for 2014.



MordyK 11/27/2013 | 1:09:02 AM
Re: Let me buy what I want Been to a coupla games when I was in Australia but I kinda lost contact with it aside for when I accidentally walked into a bar with a freind that's catered toward Aussie's and a game was on.

Netflix's surpassing of HBO in terms of total subs might be the trigger for web based OTT subscriptions to finally be implemented by the "important" channels.

BTW another option is to install a Slingbox and stream games from it as a server.
Liz Greenberg 11/26/2013 | 9:24:56 PM
Re: Let me buy what I want Mordy...are you an AFL fan?? If so...go Saints and Eagles!!!  If not...well give it a try...it is truly exciting.  I hope that the NFL follows suit EXCEPT that it allows us to watch it inside the US via subscription. I think that the AFL has learned from the NFL and the poor Aussies cannot subscribe via the internet, only outside of Australia.  Bootleg video is all the rage! 

See Comcast, TWC, et al...this is how you LOSE subscribers, they switch to crummy video broadcast illegally from some remote village in eastern Europe.
MordyK 11/26/2013 | 8:08:30 PM
Re: Let me buy what I want Cheerio mate!
Liz Greenberg 11/26/2013 | 8:01:25 PM
Re: Let me buy what I want I know Mordy but I need NFL.tv too and that doesn't exist yet.  Once it does I won't be able to find my cable cutters fast enough!  I already subscribe to Aussie Rules Football via the internet!
MordyK 11/26/2013 | 4:36:45 PM
Re: Let me buy what I want Liz, Get an MLB.TV subscription and use a proxy for in-home games, and dont tell anybody I told you to do that :)
brookseven 11/26/2013 | 4:32:25 PM
Re: Some improvement Project Pronto required SBC (at the time) to sell bitstreams in a neutral way out of Central Offices to anyone who wanted to buy them.

You are thinking of the DLC unbundling aspects of Pronto as a bigger deployment model, which it was not.


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