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Last year Cablevision employees in Brooklyn voted to unionize for the first time in the company's history
, a significant move given the fact that just 2-4% of cable technicians are unionized. The unionization has resulted in a heated feud ever since, with Cablevision suing the CWA for claims about sub-par service
and post Sandy robocalls
aimed at getting users to call in for refunds. Last month Cablevision went so far as to fire 22 Cablevision employees and key union leaders
who stopped work one day and demanded face time with Cablevision executives.
Cablevision has since rehired those workers
after their firings saw a month of extra attention from political candidate hopefuls and the unions. Still, the workers say they continue to struggle with poor or no health care and low wages, and their efforts to negotiate a first contract are facing Cablevision roadblocks:
Last year, Adams and 281 of his Brooklyn colleagues overwhelmingly voted to join the Communications Workers of America. But they've struggled to negotiate a new contract. Many of the technicians who contract with Cablevision do not receive health benefits and are paid on a sliding scale based on each call, with some earning as low as $20,000 a year, according to union officials. A congressional labor committee on Monday highlighted their plight, citing it as a case study on problems in negotiating first contracts after workers organize a union.
$20,000 in New York City will of course buy you a nice hat, and workers say they were simply using Cablevision's "open door policy" to speak to executives about low pay. After the firing, the CWA tried to push the city council
to pull Cablevision's franchise agreement, and the negative PR simply grew too hot for Cablevision to handle.
John Malone has made a wager that Charter Communications will thrive in currently rough seas. According to Bloomberg
, Malone's Liberty Media will be taking a 27 percent stake in Charter for roughly $2.62 billion. As part of the deal, Liberty gets to assign four individuals to Charter's board of directors. After exiting bankruptcy in 2009, Charter has struggled with historically low customer satisfaction rankings, but is starting to see more positive cash flow under the watch of new CEO Tom Rutledge. Rutledge has been behind more than a few controversial moves of late, ranging from ceasing support of customer-owned modems
to shutting down their entire "UMatter2Charter" social and online support department
Numerous pay TV companies have thrown their support behind Cablevision, who earlier this week sued Viacom
, claiming the company violates antitrust law by forcing cable TV companies to buy channels in bundles. Mediacom, Time Warner Cable, DirecTV and others all issued statements supporting Cablevision
. "There's no question that the current all-or-nothing system dictated by programmers is completely broken," insisted DirecTV in a statement -- while Mediacom insisted forced bundling is "hurting consumers." Comcast, who now owns all of NBC after arguing such massive vertical integration isn't a problem for the end user, is remaining silent on the issue for obvious reasons.
Cablevision has filed suit against the Communications Workers of America, claiming the union has been making "patently false and defamatory claims" about the company's broadband services in New York City. According to a Cablevision statement
, the CWA has repeatedly made claims that Cablevision service is slower in Brooklyn than in other parts of the company's footprint.
I've been known to ding an ISP or two for stupid behavior, but everything I saw from a front row seat during hurricane Sandy suggested that every ISP in the impacted region handled Sandy aftermath with aplomb, kindness and efficiency. ISPs were one upping one another
seeing who could help out the most -- from mobile charging stations to automatic refunds and free voice and SMS service
Last week Cablevision announced that they would be issuing service credits to customers impacted by Hurricane Sandy
, even if their service was down due to a loss of power and not system damage. Not to be outdone, Verizon tells Broadband Reports
they'll be doing the same thing, something our readers may find useful as power returns to many areas impacted by the storm. "We routinely credit our customers when theyre out of service, whether for power outages or other reasons where service has been impacted," says Verizon. "We will of course do the same for those affected by Hurricane Sandy."
While Cablevision has yet to reveal how they plan to compete with Verizon's new "Quantum
" FiOS speeds up to 300 Mbps, Multichannel News
directs our attention to the fact that the cable operator is undergoing a branding refresh for their Optimum line of services. According to a press statement
the company is redesigning the logo (see above) and changing their brand for the first time in ten years. The new logo and branding will be immediately deployed "across all customer-facing platforms and executions" accompanied by a new suite of television ads." "Our new logo and branding campaign reflects our commitment to honesty, transparency, the quality of the services we provide and importantly how we interact with our customers." That's a pretty impressive resume for a little yellow dot.
During the company's earnings conference call this week (see transcript
), Cablevision CEO Jim Dolan said the company hopes to have their network DVR service available to all of the company's customers by the end of the year. After a long but successful legal battle against broadcasters, Cablevision quietly launched their network DVR service (aka the RS-DVR) back in January
in portions of The Bronx. The cable operator then expanded the service's footprint to portions of Brooklyn, Long Island and Connecticut. The service stores content at the network head end, eliminating the need for local storage on the DVR -- and Cablevision's currently offering test customers 160 GB of storage for $11 a month.
Last month Verizon raised the bar for residential broadband (and high prices) when they announced their new Quantum FiOS tiers
, which included a new top shelf 300 Mbps downstream, 65 Mbps upstream tier for $205 a month. Not to be outdone, sources tell Broadband Reports
that Comcast is planning to offer a 305 Mbps downstream tier sometime before the end of the year in FiOS markets.
With the resignation of two top Cablevision executives in two weeks
last December (including COO Tom Rutledge, who left to become Charter CEO), the rumor mill started to churn with rumblings that Cablevision could be looking to sell. Now another Cablevision executive has left the company. Jonathan Hargis, executive vice president of marketing, is resigning
and will leave the company later this month "to pursue other opportunities." Again, analyst speculation is that Cablevision is shaking up the ranks ahead of yet another Dolan attempt to take the company private, or they're preparing to sell their properties. Time Warner Cable has long been a rumored buyer, but the deal never seems to materialize.
Back in 2009 Canadian Cable company Cogeco imposed new low usage caps
with per gigabyte overages as high as $2.50. The problem? Cogeco didn't make sure their meters actually worked before hungrily jumping on the metered usage bandwagon, with inaccurate or conflicting usage amounts being reflected via online Cogeco usage meters and customer e-mail alerts.
by Revcb Thursday 01-Mar-2012
by Revcb Wednesday 29-Feb-2012
by Revcb Tuesday 07-Feb-2012
by Revcb Tuesday 10-Jan-2012
Earlier this month Cablevision sued Verizon for FiOS ads
highlighting FCC data showing that Cablevision wasn't delivering the speeds users are paying for. As of August, Cablevision delivered just 50% of advertised speed during peak periods, a fact Verizon quickly made use of in FiOS marketing.
by Revcb Tuesday 06-Dec-2011
by Revcb Thursday 01-Dec-2011
by Revcb Monday 28-Nov-2011
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Recent news contributorsKarl Bode , telcodad