News tagged: Time Warner Cable
When Comcast originally announced
its planned $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable in February of last year, the company predicted that they'd see DOJ and FCC approval sometime before the end of 2014. With early 2015 now quickly headed for mid 2015 and opposition to the deal causing doubts about approval, Comcast has been forced to shift their planned approval date to mid year. In a blog post
, Comcast's top lobbyist David Cohen has acknowledged the delay while visiting North Carolina to sell the deal:
The FCC and the DOJ are continuing their regulatory reviews of the TWC transaction. Given the FCC's recent decision to pause the shot clock, we have recently reassessed the time frame when we expect the government's regulatory review to be completed and now expect that the review should be concluded in the middle of the year. During this period, we are continuing to describe the public interest benefits that will come to North Carolina and other TWC areas.
While deal critics say a large Comcast could harm competition in everything from Internet video to advertising, Cohen continues to insist that the deal will bring vast, immeasurable benefits to consumers in the Tar Heel state --and everywhere else. Comcast then proceeds to try and quantify those benefits, claiming Time Warner Cable users will see $1.1 billion in "consumer benefits" each year:
An economic analysis has determined that if Comcast were to accelerate TWC subscribers' speeds by even 5 Megabits per second for one year that alone would be worth approximately $324 million in consumer value. In fact, if the transaction results in raising the average TWC customer’s broadband speed to the level of Comcast's, as we plan, that would deliver approximately $1.1 billion in consumer benefits annually.
Analysts remain torn over whether the FCC and DOJ will reject the deal. Given the FCC's recent more consumer friendly shift, you can imagine that any conditions applied to the deal may be a bit more stringent than the relatively weak, loosely enforced
type of conditions Comcast has enjoyed in the past.
Time Warner Cable says that the cable company has begun its "Maxx" network upgrades in portions of North Carolina. According to a company blog post
, customer in Raleigh are being informed they'll soon be seeing the improvements, and Time Warner Cable says they'll also be reaching out to Charlotte customers in April.
Charter Communications continues to make it clear that the cable provider plans to take another run at Time Warner Cable should Comcast's attempted acquisition be blocked by regulators. Speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom conference this week, Charter and Liberty Media execs said
that while they'd like the deal to go through (since they'll be acquiring some subscribers through the Greatland Communications spinoff
), they're better positioned than ever to make a deal. Execs were quick to point out that Charter’s stock is up 47.5% over the last 12 months while Time Warner Cable stock is up just 11.7%.
"If you make it easy, we will come. If you make it hard, enjoy your Time Warner Cable,” Google Fiber's Milo Medin told attendees
of a Comptel Competition and Innovation Summit this week.
Comcast has been taking heat for several weeks
after customer support reps were found to be changing customer account names to insults like "bitch dog" and "a$$hole." Of course this isn't new; I've seen the same behavior out of Comcast since at least 2005
. According to some customers, it's not unique to Comcast, either.
Time Warner Cable says that the company has begun its "Maxx" TV and broadband upgrades in the Dallas area. According to a company announcement
, Dallas area customers should start being notified this week regarding which areas will be first in line for the improvements.
Speaking on the company's recent earnings call
, Time Warner Cable CEO Rob Marcus stated that the company plans to offer their faster "Maxx" service (300 Mbps down, 20 Mbps up) to 75% of the company's footprint by the end of 2016. That's assuming these deployment plans don't get shelved due to a regulatory rejection of their planned Comcast merger.
For some time now Time Warner Cable has been marketing significantly faster "Maxx" broadband speed upgrades at speeds up to 300 Mbps, initially deploying them in Austin and portions of Los Angeles and New York City. Back in August the company announced
they'd also be deploying the service, which costs $108 per month standalone, to users in Charlotte, Dallas, Hawaii, Kansas City, Raleigh, San Antonio and San Diego sometime in 2015.
Netflix today released their ISP streaming performance ranking for December
, which offers performance data based on the 53 million global Netflix viewers and the two billion hours of content they watch each month. There wasn't too much of a shake up in this month's ranking, with Verizon FiOS continuing to top the list after they struck an interconnection deal with Netflix last year.
Like most ISPs and cable companies, Time Warner Cable has been keeping broadband rates the same, but quietly jacking up an assortment of fees. This helps glean more revenue while keeping the advertised price the same. story continues..
In addition to soaring overall rates, broadband and cable TV customers are increasingly being saddled with a soaring variety of fees and surcharges, whether that's the new Broadcast TV fee
, more expensive DVR or set top charges, or soaring modem rental rates
highlights how an increasing number of cable operators are also now socking customers with Sports surcharges.
Despite often twice a year promises that they're doing their best to shore up their historically-awful customer service and satisfaction ratings, Time Warner Cable and Comcast continue to linger in last place in most satisfaction surveys, whether that's Consumer Reports
, the ACSI
, or JD Power and Associates
. That two of the worst-ranked companies across any industry
are trying to merge has seen no shortage of media attention.
Time Warner Cable and Boingo have announced that they've expanded a Passpoint roaming agreements the two companies first announced back in June
. According to the companies' press release
, this means that Boingo and Time Warner Cable customers can use and log in to the Wi-Fi hotspots of each company automatically without re-entering credentials for each.
Dish Network appears to be the first major pay TV player willing to integrate Netflix into the company's set top box hardware. Reports recently emerged
that Netflix was making a refocused push to get Netflix on the set tops of the biggest cable operators.
Even though his company likely won't exist six months from now (once digested by Comcast), Time Warner Cable CEO Rob Marcus this week threw his full support behind Internet video -- specifically Internet video's ability to shake up the traditional bloated, pricey TV channel bundles. 2015 looks to be a landmark year for over-the-top video services from the likes of HBO, Showtime, Dish and Verizon -- something Marcus insists is a good thing that should benefit everybody
"We’ve been articulating for quite some time that we thought that delivering video with a greater degree of flexibility would be very customer friendly," Marcus said at the UBS Global Media & Communications conference in New York Monday.
Poor customer satisfaction for Comcast, Charter and Time Warner Cable helped place the pay TV industry in last place across all industries
in YouGov's latest BrandIndex survey of consumer satisfaction
. The firm polled 9,000 consumers as to their satisfaction with 1,200 different companies, and found that the cable industry scored the very worst of the worst.
While the firm's website didn't break out individual company scores, YouGov tells the Huffington Post
that other companies in the sector can thank Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Charter for the dismal showing:
Time Warner Cable, Comcast and Charter Communications all received negative scores in the YouGov survey, meaning that more customers reported being dissatisfied with the companies than reported being satisfied. Time Warner Cable and Comcast's scores were "firmly" negative, said Lance Fraenkel, head of client services for BrandIndex. Charter Communications' score was negative, but hovered around neutral territory...The 10 other companies in the "cable and satellite TV" category all received positive rankings, with Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-verse topping the list, Fraenkel said..
The poor showing of the sector's three worst providers resulted in the pay TV sector faring worse than banks, insurance companies, and the medical industry.
While locations like New York and San Francisco have been getting significant speed increases as part of Time Warner Cable's Maxx upgrades
, the cable company's now also throwing a small bone to users in all of the company's markets. Stop the Cap
notes that Time Warner Cable is boosting the company's "Basic" broadband tier, which usually runs $30 to $40 a month depending on the market, from 3 Mbps down, 1 Mbps up to 6 Mbps down, 1 Mbps up at no charge. Maxx markets, in contrast, see the company's 15 Mbps Standard Internet plan bumped to 50 Mbps, and the company's 100 Mbps Ultimate plan pushed to 300 Mbps -- for the same rates (which vary by market and regional competition).
When asked this week by an analyst whether over the top video services would ultimately drive Time Warner Cable toward usage-based broadband models, company CEO Rod Marcus stated the company has no plans to abandon offering an unlimited broadband options. You'll recall Time Warner Cable took a public relations beating for pushing mandatory low caps (as low as 5 GB) and high per byte overages (as high as $5 per additional gigabyte) on consumers back in 2009
Time Warner Cable's earnings
this morning indicate that the company lost 184,000 video subscribers on the quarter, more than most Wall Street analysts expected. The company did add 92,000 broadband and 14,000 voice subscribers on the quarter, but lost 24,000 triple play customers overall. Overall company revenue fell 6% as a result. While the company is offering its Maxx upgrades
to key locations, much of the company's footprint remains in a holding pattern as it awaits regulatory approval of their $45 billion sale to Comcast -- something company CEO Rob Marcus today admitted is taking longer than he anticipated.
Last November we noted story continues..
that Time Warner Cable, historically a bit sluggish when it comes to next-gen broadband upgrades, was considering a brand refresh named "Maxx" that would include significant speed and TV improvements. In addition to bumping select markets
to 300 Mbps (Los Angeles, New York, Austin, Charlotte, Dallas, Hawaii, Kansas City, Raleigh, San Antonio and San Diego), that will include a fancy new DVR that the company unveiled this week in Los Angeles and New York City.
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