News tagged: Time Warner Cable
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Responding to investor worries that cable rate hikes aren't sustainable
, the cable industry has spent the last few years paying a lot of lip service
to lowering cable TV prices, insisting that they were very conscious of the fact that the recession and housing implosion left many users struggling. However, bi-annual rate hikes have continued, and the "discount" tiers we've seen offered have been so packed with restrictions
as to have little to no value.
Time Warner Cable was one of those companies spending the last few years insisting that they'll take a look at lowering rates. So what was their big announcement this week? They'll be cutting back on promotions and will be charging users more for services to counter the death of the triple play and slowed subscriber growth across the TV and broadband sectors.
After a huge surge in digital voice subscribers for cable operators, customers are now dropping those lines to go wireless only, and Time Warner Cable lost 35,000 voice customers last quarter. The company sees the writing on the wall for the death of the triple play, so Time Warner Cable is going to spend more time pushing harder to "upsell" premium offerings like faster Internet speeds and premium television channels.
Time Warner Cable as of January began a new strategy aimed at increasing average revenue per user, with less focus on increasing subscriber totals. With the market saturated Wall Street is no longer seeing the kind of subscriber gains that make them happy, so Time Warner Cable needs to focus on getting each individual user to pay more.
"We still advertise the same beacon prices, but the product packages are leaner, with lower speeds and fewer channels and features," Time Warner Cable COO Marcus stated this week on a conference call with analysts and the media. "Once our beacon offers get the phone to ring, our inbound sales reps are trained to help customers select options that are important to them, like faster broadband or a DVR. As a result, customers are up-sold into packages that better meet their needs."
In other words, Time Warner Cable will offer fewer promotions and spend more time upselling, you pay more money for the same services, and investors get their pound of flesh.
Speaking on the company earnings call
this week, Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt stated that Time Warner Cable is seeing "de minimis" impact on their business from Google Fiber so far. Granted that's because two of the three Google Fiber locations have yet to connect any customers.
It has been interesting to watch the responses of the two companies impacted most by Google Fiber's deployments: AT&T and Time Warner Cable. Both companies have fought competition tooth and nail over the years, and now that they're finally staring a little bit of it in the face, their responses have very much matched their corporate character. story continues..
A significant outage is impacting Time Warner Cable Digital Voice customers from North Carolina to California, according to user posts in our Time Warner Cable forum
. According to the company, 911 voice calls are still being completed, but all other services do not work.
Time Warner Cable hasn't been exactly what you'd call a hero
when it comes to furthering national broadband deployment. The company was behind bills in both North and South Carolina
banning or hindering towns and cities from deploying their own broadband, even when nobody else will.
Time Warner Cable owns a number of local news outlets in numerous cities, such as YNN in upstate NY, News 14 in the Carolinas, and NY1 in New York City. The company is now seeing some significant blowback
for a decision to rename all of these news outlets "Time Warner Cable News." The change of NYC's long-time staple NY1 to such a heavily corporate name is seeing the heaviest criticism
. One user calls the plan the "stupidest media rebranding scheme Ive ever heard of." "Our research shows that people who watch our stations, such as NY1, are loyal viewers, yet most people dont understand their connection to Time Warner Cable," the company said in a statement.
Some Time Warner Cable may soon be seeing refunds courtesy of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. According to a notice posted over at the AG's website
, Time Warner Cable had been overcharging customers in upstate New York, and will have to issue $2.2 million in refunds to 18,437 customers, in addition to $200,000 in fees and costs to the State of New York. The AG notes that a two-year investigation found that Time Warner Cable consistently violated franchise rules by charging higher fee totals than those agreements allowed. Users will on average be seeing credits of $119, plus interest, credited to their accounts.
Last December Time Warner Cable Rob Marcus insisted
that there was no demand for 1 Gbps service, though if there was the company would surely provide it. His evidence? Not many users are signing up for the company's fastest tiers, intentionally ignoring that it's likely the very steep price tag that keeps those users away.
Despite the faster speeds now being pushed through fiber and DOCSIS 3.0, there's many users who continue to suffer from the inability to quickly and consistently stream YouTube videos. Spend a few minutes in any of our forums and you'll find this is a universal problem with many carriers, including AT&T U-Verse
, Verizon FiOS
and Time Warner Cable
A fiber digging crew clipped a gas line in Kansas City resulting in at least one death and fifteen injuries as the resulting explosion destroyed a restaurant and part of a shopping complex. ABC News
notes that the resulting explosion created a massive fireball seen for miles, and that more than 100 firefighters spent the majority of the evening battling the blaze. According to USAToday
, the gas main was clipped by Heartland Midwest, which had been subcontracted to extend a fiber-optic line for Time Warner Cable. While fiber digs can also be highly complicated due to poor buried line records, the local utility claims the line had been clearly marked. The deceased is believed to be 46-year-old restaurant employee Megan Cramer.
Back in 2011 the FCC began collecting real-world user broadband data from customized routers, then issuing reports on which ISPs were failing to deliver advertised speeds. It's one of the few FCC policies in recent years that has truly paid dividends for consumers. story continues..
It has been about half a decade now that I've been pointing out that most of the meters used by ISPs to track and bill consumers for usage aren't accurate. Customers of Canadian cable operator Cogeco have long complained the company's meter is inaccurate when users can load it at all
, and every so often the meter simply goes mad -- like last Spring when the meter was horribly confused by leap year
Speaking about their earnings this week, Time Warner Cable announced that the company will be doubling their existing Wi-Fi footprint this year
, with a heavy emphasis on their New York City markets. At the moment, Time Warner Cable has roughly 10,000 Wi-Fi access points, the majority of them in Los Angeles. This year's focus will likely be primarily on New York City, where they'll have ample competition from Google and Boingo
who already offer free Wi-Fi in many locations. Time Warner Cable already offers Wi-Fi in several parks
, though they only offer free Wi-Fi for a half an hour before charging.
According to the Wall Street Journal
, Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt will step down at the end of the year, with company CFO Rob Marcus the leading internal candidate to replace him. The news comes as Time Warner Cable's earnings this week highlight a continued loss of basic video customers, and a lower-than-expected growth in broadband customers.
Time Warner Cable released fourth quarter earnings
this morning which showed the company continues to lose basic cable subscribers, while adding fewer broadband customers than Wall Street analysts expected. According to Time Warner Cable, the company lost 129,000 video subscribers on the quarter, as users continue to flee to satellite, telcoTV, and Internet video alternatives. The company added just 75,000 broadband customers on the quarter, lower than the 109,000 estimated by analysts. Still, residential high-speed data revenue for the quarter rose 17.2 percent, thanks primarily to a suite of consistent price hikes
Initially, Time Warner Cable's attempt to fend of Google Fiber in Kansas City consisted of pooh pooh'ing the 1 Gbps, $70 service
, trying to lock down local users into long-term contracts, and promising locals Twilight movie tickets not to switch. The company appears to have since changed tactics.
Time Warner Cable has informed Los Angeles area residents that they'll be seeing price hikes as high as 17.6% on broadband and television services. According to the Los Angeles Times
, the cost of local channels will jump 17.6%, to $20 from $17 a month, while the cost of a DVR rental will rise 18.6%, to $12.99 from $10.95. Local consumer advocates argue that Time Warner Cable is just cushioning the blow of their recent plan to launch a regional sports channel dedicated to the Dodgers
. The company has a strained relationship with LA locals after horribly bumbling the Adelphia takeover
back in 2007.
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Recent news contributorsKarl Bode