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The FTC has given their approval
for Charter's acquisition of Cablevision's "Optimum West" territories for $1.625 billion in cash. The 300,000 customers in Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and Utah have only just seen the paint dry on their last sale, from Bresnan Communications to Cablevision
for $1.37 billion just two years ago. Charter beat back companies like Suddenlink and Time Warner Cable who were also interested. "Optimum West is an ideal fit for Charter and we anticipate an efficient integration process," said Charter CEO Tom Rutledge. Rumors meanwhile have intensified that Cablevision may finally be sold
, with Time Warner Cable the most likely suitor.
After several significant delays, the entertainment industry and most of the nation's largest ISPs are set to launch their "six strikes" graduated response anti-piracy efforts starting today. Sources familiar with the plan timetable have told both Daily Dot
and Torrent Freak
that six strikes starts today, and a new Center for Copyright Information website
run by the entertainment industry appears to have been freshly launched for the occasion (see new video, below).
Charter's quarterly earnings
released this morning show the cable operator lost $40 million on the quarter, an improvement from the $67 million lost this time last year. Charter added 54,000 broadband and 34,000 voice customers on the quarter, but lost 36,000 video subscribers. "Our fourth-quarter results provide early evidence that our strategic changes are working as planned," Chief Executive Tom Rutledge said. "We are providing a more competitive product and service, and as a result, customer relationships are growing and underlying subscription revenue is accelerating." Charter's "strategic changes" this quarter included shutting down their entire "UMatter2Charter" social and online support department
despite consistently ranking last industry-wide in customer service and support.
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..
Charter has announced
that the company will be buying Cablevision's "Optimum West" territories for $1.625 billion in cash. The 300,000 customers in Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and Utah have only just seen the paint dry on their last sale, from Bresnan Communications to Cablevision
for $1.37 billion just two years ago. Charter beat back companies like Suddenlink and Time Warner Cable who were also interested. "Optimum West is an ideal fit for Charter and we anticipate an efficient integration process," said Charter CEO Tom Rutledge.
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
Charter Communications stock has surged this week on Wall Street rumors that the company is working on some kind of significant merger or acquisition. Employees state that the company has frozen all budgets, and I've confirmed with some Charter folks that there's all-hands-on-deck manager conferences scheduled for this week. story continues..
Charter is informing customers that a dubious fee will be getting slightly more dubious during 2013. As it stands, Charter automatically charges users a $1.99 "Service Computerized Fee" should customers make any changes to their service, be it to change programming packages, or downgrade/upgrade your broadband speeds. story continues..
While Charter Communications guts their entire social networking presence to save a buck, Cablevision is expanding further into social networking support. As noted recently, new Charter management decided it would be a good idea to gut their entire UMatter2Charter support team
, which provided users with a way to break through traditional support gridlock via Twitter, Facebook, and even here in our direct forums
Cablevision appears to be doing the exact opposite, Fierce Cable
directing our attention to the fact that Cablevision is hunting for numerous new executives to tackle social media support:
Earlier this month, Cablevision began advertising three new social media positions: director of social media, social media editor and social media analyst. The executive it hires for the director of social media position will be "responsible for developing and overseeing the execution of strategic social media initiatives, including developing and managing social media campaigns to grow the audience, creating and supervising high-profile channel accounts, and integrating social media into the overall business strategy," Cablevision said in a listing posted on its Cablevision Jobs & Careers site.
As noted previously, such efforts aren't that expensive, but provide a company with a very human face while helping customers break through what can often be insurmountable red tape. Unless you're looking to save a buck and don't care that, as is the case with Charter, numerous customer satisfaction studies consistently rank you in last place among all carriers.
Netflix has once again ranked the best ISPs for streaming content. According to this Netflix blog post
, the company's rankings come from 30 million members viewing over 1 billion hours of Netflix each month.
Update story continues..
: Charter has confirmed they're not only killing off all online social media help, but they're pulling their technicians from our private, direct forum, where countless Broadband Reports readers have gotten additional private assistance above and beyond Charter's traditional (and traditionally very poorly ranked) tech support
. A source tells Broadband Reports
that Charter will be doing away with the company's entire social media department (offering Twitter, Facebook and online forum support) as part of broader efforts to cut costs.
Yesterday we exclusively reported
that Charter Communications was quietly gutting all of their social media support operations, informing those employees that they could either take a job with phone support, or leave the company entirely. It's an unfortunate move for Charter customers, given that like many ISPs, the use of Twitter to directly correspond with frustrated customer helped users break through bureaucratic gridlock, while giving a human face to the company.
With the entertainment industry's "six strikes" anti-piracy plan very close to launch, some ISPs are finally willing to talk a little about the new steps they'll be taking to thwart pirates on their networks starting later this month. CNET's Declan McCullagh moderated a panel discussion on the new six strikes initiative this week, where ISPs and the RIAA and MPAA tried to downplay concerns about the program. story continues..
Charter has shown interest in acquiring Cablevision's networks in the west, and Cablevision has shown interest in listening to offers. Light Reading
(via Stop the Cap
) notes that confirmation of a possible deal was made by CEO Jim Dolan during Cablevision's recent earnings conference call. "While it has not been our intention to divest this valuable asset, based on the approaches that we have received, we've decided to explore a potential transaction." You may recall that Cablevision acquired those networks by Buying Bresnan Communications
back in 2010. The networks in question currently serve around 320,000 subscribers in scattered portions of Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and Utah.
An insider at Charter Communications tells Broadband Reports that the company will soon start charging a $200 "activation fee" for the company's 100 Mbps tier. The insider notes that the fee will be imposed starting on October 16 for the tier, and will take effect in all Charter markets. story continues..
Several insiders have informed us, and at least one tech has suggested as much in our forums
, that Charter Communications is working on creating a 300 Mbps service tier. There's no word on pricing yet, but the company's goal is to keep pace on the marketing front after both Comcast and Verizon FiOS have announced 300 Mbps tiers in recent weeks. Verizon's 300 Mbps tier offers 65 Mbps upstream and clocks in at $205 a month. Comcast's 305 Mbps down, 75 Mbps up tier was recently announced at $300, but as we recently exclusively reported
looks to be getting a significant price cut to $119 a month (bundled). Despite numerous flirtations with hard caps and overages, Charter still only enforces their caps in high-volume markets.
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Recent news contributorsKarl Bode