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Cable, Broadcasters Feign Eagerness for TV Price Investigation
by Bill Neilson 10:27AM Friday Jun 27 2014
In a letter the big four broadcast companies recently pushed Congress to investigate high cable prices, pretending they have no role in soaring costs. In his own a letter sent to House and Senate leaders, Suddenlink CEO Jerry Kent insists he would support opening up the cable industry’s billing practices only if programmers release details of their own wholesale pricing.

Several weeks ago, Mediacom VP of legal and public affairs Tom Larsen issued a similar letter stating that content providers were intentionally hiding their finances so that people would blame TV providers for the high cost of Pay TV. Suddenlink claims they are doing this because they have an interest in assuring that "subscribers in smaller markets are not being discriminated against by content providers in favor of subscribers in large metropolitan areas."

Consumer advocates have argued that Suddenlink is doing this so that they can pay content providers less money allowing Suddenlink’s profits to increase. Customers will not see a dime from any savings that Suddenlink receives from content providers cutting their prices, they argue. Critics have long argued the company has a history of anti-consumer practices:

• Suddenlink is one of the last providers to institute caps and charge heavy overages with usage meters that did not work (in fact they logged usage when user modems were off).

• Suddenlink tried to join the “TV Everywhere” crowd by putting out a walled-off, limited application under the mistaken belief that this would stop cord-cutting.

• Suddenlink initially blocked Netflix from any TiVO boxes which did absolutely nothing to stop customers from using Netflix.

Update: Suddenlink reached out to us to note this isn't the case:
quote:
We never blocked Netflix from our TiVo boxes. As reported elsewhere, the initial absence of Netflix from our TiVo boxes was a result of Netflix’s own contracts with certain content owners. Since then, Netflix was able to free itself of those constraints, and we reached agreement with Netflix to provide access to its content through our TiVo boxes in May this year.

• Suddenlink forgot to add the actual prices to their web-site when offering new speeds.

• Suddenlink lied to customers about having to disconnect them from service for six-months due to DMCA rules.

Update: Suddenlink also contests this claim:
quote:
Assuming the reported exchange from four years ago occurred, it was a case of one of our representatives misspeaking. There was no systemic effort to mislead anyone. If anything, this was a short-fall in training and preparation on our part, but to claim the company “lied” is not supported by facts.
Cable operators like to pretend they're blameless in soaring cable hikes, but as we've noted consistently they too drive up costs (DVR rentals, modem rentals, various fees) at every conceivable opportunity. There's really no "good guy" in this fight other than the consumer, and even consumers aren't blameless if they're unwilling to do more than complain about high prices.

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Uplinkpro

join:2008-02-11
Lake Charles, LA

Hah...

This is the same guy that also said they're just sitting on profits and not really upgrading their systems »stopthecap.com/2010/09/01/sudden···ly-over/

Also, their usage meters are still off by design, some days they show more usage, and others the don't show any usage because it updated too late. They also charge extra fees for upgrading your package. I've also had to call them because a problem on their end prevented us from getting the service we paid for, yet they felt the need to send out a tech to tell them so.

If it's any consolation prize though, at least they're better than Comcast, or so I hear.

Killa200
Premium
join:2005-12-02
Southeast TN
Reviews:
·Charter

Re: Hah...

"Suddenlink CEO Jerry Kent insists he would support opening up the cable industry's billing practices only if programmers release details of their own wholesale pricing."

I'm with him all the way on that. I think people would be surprised in the end at how much of all these channels actually cost, and I'd absolutely LOVE if I could name and shame each provider by providing the rate each one charges, per channel.

I'm all for letting people know how much these content crooks charge, I'm just not willing to get sued over releasing the information under the current "contract law".
Millenium

join:2013-10-30
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

1 recommendation

...

Cable cord is cut! Internet is getting cut the end of September when my prepaid runs out. I have no interest in being a Comcast customer and am getting out while gettin' is good.
Millenium

join:2013-10-30
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

1 edit
"There's really no "good guy" in this fight other than the consumer, and even consumers aren't blameless if they're unwilling to do more than complain about high prices."

Amen to that. A couple people I know have shared what they pay for their bundles and it floored me when I heard them. They pay almost as much in internet/cable/wireless phone as I pay in mortgage, taxes, and insurance on my house!

Time to wake up, I think. Complain all you want. If you pay, they'll keep raising it.

hello123454
Premium
join:2002-02-02
Wilmington, DE
kudos:1

Re: ...

Yup I've been saying this all along...I don't believe anyone who keeps paying these supposed "crooks" has a leg to stand on. Most people who complain about certain brands or products in America own those same products. I actually think it's hilarious. In fact I would go so far to say the only one to blame is the consumer. Without the consumer there is no business.
Uplinkpro

join:2008-02-11
Lake Charles, LA

1 recommendation

Re: ...

That's like saying if you don't like your electric company, stop using electricity, or if you don't like your water company stop using water. Internet is steadily becoming an essential service for the modern American. Many companies now require you to use the internet to apply for jobs, and many social services require you to use the internet to apply for them. Yes, if this was a situation where people actually have a choice then you'd have a leg to stand on, but most people only have two choices, the cable company or nothing.

hello123454
Premium
join:2002-02-02
Wilmington, DE
kudos:1

Re: ...

The point is that you'll be waiting and complaining forever for things to change. There has to be some sort of catalyst. We all know the lawmakers and politics will remain the same. Which likely means the competition remains the same. Thus the major companies stay the same. There isn't any solution in sight except for the power the consumer has.
Millenium

join:2013-10-30
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
said by Uplinkpro:

Internet is steadily becoming an essential service for the modern American.

I agree.

The OPI plan (other people's internet) works for me, though. A great deal of places I frequent, or could frequent, offer free public WiFi for those times I need to get on the internet.

Yes it is a privacy risk, but no more so and perhaps even less than having my ISP logging everything I do online.

chip89
Premium
join:2012-07-05
Independence, OH
Heck around here if you want a job at Mcdonalds you have to apply online now!
ITGeeks

join:2014-04-20
Cleveland, OH

Re: ...

They all are like that and it saves $$$. No need to spend all that money on applications being printed only to be thrown away later.
ITGeeks

join:2014-04-20
Cleveland, OH
Not true. Social Center agencies have computers, so do job bank fairs, and the libraries have Internet as well.
Uplinkpro

join:2008-02-11
Lake Charles, LA

Re: ...

You said it's not true yet confirmed what I had said in the statement. I didn't say some of those places didn't have computers and internet, I said you have to deal with signing up for them through the internet. Not everyone wants to spend several hours in queue to use a computer to apply for a single job though, and not every library in the US has the same equipment or internet services.
WhatNow
Premium
join:2009-05-06
Charlotte, NC
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

Re: ...

When I moved where I live now I had to rent for a couple months and the local library only let you use the computers for a short time even if no one was using the other computers. They were also very slow. It is a very small town so there may only be a open wifi at McDees.
I have a choice of dialup AT&T and TWC. In the neighborhoods on both side of our hood AT&T offers slow dsl.

anon_3

@71.193.187.x
Being one of the big four and largest cable co. ....sure is an interesting position Comcast is in!

i.e. Twister

voipguy

join:2006-05-31
Forest Hills, NY

1 recommendation

Suddenlink now carries Netflix via TiVo:
»www.multichannel.com/news/tv-app···s/374376