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Television Businesses The Internet United States

Americans Hate TV and Internet Providers More Than Other Industries 255

An anonymous reader writes "According to a new report by the American Customer Satisfaction Index, subscription TV providers and ISPs were the industries Americans disliked the most over the past year. 'Over-the-top video services, like Netflix and Hulu, threaten subscription TV providers and also put pressure on ISP network infrastructure. Customers question the value proposition of both, as consumers pay for more than they need in terms of subscription TV and get less than they want in terms of Internet speeds and reliability.' Unsurprisingly, Time Warner Cable and Comcast are the companies with the most dissatisfied customers. The ACSI said, '[I]t's a concern whenever two poor-performing service providers combine operations. ACSI data consistently show that mergers in service industries usually result in lower customer satisfaction, at least in the short term. It's hard to see how combining two negatives will be a positive for consumers.'"
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Americans Hate TV and Internet Providers More Than Other Industries

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  • by Katatsumuri ( 1137173 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @05:43AM (#47054587)

    I would put the telecom second and the media distribution mafia first.

    It is pathetic, true, how the telecom providers have been selling a commodity service on mass scale for 20+ years, yet the pricing and service quality are on "novelty" levels or worse. Your cable bill has no good reason to be higher than that (local) phone bill 30 years ago. One of the reasons for the pathetic prices are the unreasonably high media licensing fees and unbreakable channel bundles. The cable companies then cut costs on everything else, which gives you multiple week waiting times to connect, half-hour wait times on support lines, and clueless staff.

    And the media mafia also criminalizes everyone for downloading a few songs on P2P and threatens with lawsuits.

  • That's normal (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @06:23AM (#47054735)

    This is because it is too expensive. In europe, this is different. An article was written associated with a video explaining why it is much better in Europe :
    TV and Internet Providers in UK []

  • by Jody Bruchon ( 3404363 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @06:42AM (#47054773)
    I can't open my own ISP. If I do (let's say I want to run a fiber-based ISP), I will face many legal hurdles simply because that's the nature of the business; one may need to rent space on towers or get right-of-way permits from the town and the whole mess will be overseen by the public utilities commissioner of the state I'm in.

    That's all normal ISP business stuff, but the giants have so much power that they are guaranteed to put me out of business through lawsuits. They shroud anything that they don't like in a giant neon sheet of "UNFAIR COMPETITION" and bury the little guy in legal red tape and paperwork. Little guys cannot win the battles of attrition in our legal system against gigantic corporations as it is, but these bastards have managed to lobby so hard that the law is heavily on their side as well. If I get financial assistance from a local government to build my ISP, I'll get shut down because of "unfair competition" since there are laws in many states now making municipal broadband de facto illegal to run and the funding could be construed as attempting to skirt those laws.

    There is no competition in broadband services today because the largest companies have slanted the laws so hard in their favor that all competition is legally shut out.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @07:09AM (#47054847)

    The business only insiders with no love for radio, gutted the coffers for personal gain and bloated payouts involving grandiose plans to the point of near bankruptcy.

    Their solution to pay off their near infinite debt is to constantly interrupt the programs with endless commercials; most of which are bordering on snake oil and work at home scams. There's no high end quality products or any class to the presentation -- just a loud, fast talking spiel, hammering away with drums and horns to end in repeating 3 or 4 times a toll free number. The music channels aren't immune. They're starting to lose their shine as they get interrupted 3 or 4 times an hour with a station ID that may include an occasional short ad for web-based satellite radio or other channels that are channels with commercials.

    Before this crap, it was an amazing experience with a unique feeling found in listening to long conversations or uninterrupted musical genres. Now all I do is spend a lot of my time channel surfing to avoid the obnoxious experience of being reminded of AM radio. It's interesting, but no longer unusual enough to be worth the investment considering the other choices now available.

  • by flyneye ( 84093 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @07:14AM (#47054861) Homepage

    Music and Movie industries are up there at the top.
    Music industry is completely vampiric , with NO known benefits for anyone except themselves. If they died today, the music you hear would only get better, in spite of the scare stories to the contrary.
    Movie industry is continuously the same old shit, recycled from B&W all the way back to the silent era. You could say the special effects are better, but that would be the special effects industry, who also work for television. Nope, nothing new or interesting here, at best they will soak a storyline off some author and hope no one notices it to be a recycled premise from earlier authors. Hard to believe they want the price of a ticket or a rental for that crap.

  • by Jody Bruchon ( 3404363 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @07:31AM (#47054907)
    That doesn't address the problem of starting an ISP. I don't have an interest in buying an existing ISP, I have an interest in starting a new one.
  • Great timing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wjcofkc ( 964165 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @07:37AM (#47054925)
    I have Time Warner and about an hour ago I woke up to an outage. Needless to say it has been cleared up, but outages are routine and expected with their "service". I learned a long time ago that calling their customer service\tech support is futile. Also, I barely break five-megabits down. Unfortunately there has been no alternative and I have been stuck with them for fifteen-years. I guess you can suck that bad and not care if you are a monopoly. Two-days ago I received an email from Google letting me know that Google Fiber will be available to me pretty soon. Yesterday large spools of fiber optic cables showed up on my street. There is one right next to my house. Despite my misgivings about letting Google provide me with internet access, I am absolutely going with them. Time Warner has been flipping out since the roll out started in my city last year, yet no aspect of their service has improved. I am convinced that they have been a monopoly for so long that they literally don't know how to compete. Good riddance to them.
  • by Rich0 ( 548339 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @07:50AM (#47054963) Homepage

    You know nothing of the industry. There are hundreds of ISPs for sale in the United States RIGHT NOW. Go buy one. It'll cost you a few million for a small one.

    We're talking about residential broadband. I doubt that more than 0.1% of the population is served by anybody other than one of the major phone or cable companies.

    If you're talking about businesses buying dedicated lines then that is a different story. In such volumes the last mile problem isn't so much of a problem - you can just run a single line to them and bill them $10k for it, and the business doesn't care because they're paying that much every month. If you try to offer residential broadband with a $10k start-up fee you'll never get a single customer, and it isn't any cheaper to run a cable to a residence than to a skyscraper.

    Oh, and I'm sure there are resellers out there who offer some kind of value-add on top of one of the big phone/cable companies, and they just pay the phone/cable company to use their existing infrastructure.

    why aren't the big ISPs like Comcast, Time Warner, AT&T buying up all these ISPs?

    Because they aren't in the same business. The ISPs you talk of are probably in actual competition. If my employer got a call that the ISP wanted to raise rates by 10% at the next contract renewal, they'd get to go through the usual procurement dog and pony show all over again. At significant volumes the up-front costs to switch are fairly low. The professional negotiators would also ensure the contracts are neutral at worst, but most likely slanted towards my employer. Big corporations don't sign contracts of adhesion.

    The big telecoms do get into that business as well, but the rates are fairly competitive. When the data volumes are significant they don't really have any last-mile advantages either - even the local phone company will probably need to run a dedicated line as there is unlikely to be sufficient capacity already on the poles. At best they only have advantages of scale.

  • by Shoten ( 260439 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @08:46AM (#47055209)

    Well, heads up there...because TV/cable providers are major media producers AND distributors. NBC? Universal Studios? Comcast owns them...they're Comcast. Time Warner Cable? Just take off the "Cable" and you'll have a clue. And when you're talking about the MPAA, you're talking about an association production houses (like Universal and Time Warner). Granted, they aren't in the music industry, but I don't blame them...the music industry is still trying to figure out which end is up from the combination of iTunes/Amazon's upending of their distribution channel and the after effects of them deciding to sue their own customers like a bunch of idiots.

    Since 1948, there's been a ruling by the Supreme Court in the case of United States v. Paramount Pictures [] that concerned whether or not Paramount's vertical integration (movie production, movie distribution, movie theaters...with exclusive rights down the pipe) constituted a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. Indeed, it turned out that it was, and as a result there has been a long-standing prohibition on that degree of integration from that day forward. Now, it's easy to just point and say, "Hey! If Comcast makes movies and shows movies on their own channels, that's a violation!" It isn't, the way the ruling exists, because Comcast also shows movies from other sources as well. But the needle has been moving in that direction, obviously. But in a way, this isn't a new problem either, and there's hope that it can be addressed.

  • Re:Not me (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AthanasiusKircher ( 1333179 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @08:46AM (#47055215)

    I don't blame them for doing what a business is supposed to do as much as I blame the politicians.

    In other words, the bottom line is no excuse for anything. Not even in business.

    I absolutely agree. But I also think the GP makes an important point -- businesses shouldn't behave like jerks, but politicians deserve even more of the blame. Why? Because they have the power effectively to set the legal standards for "right" and "wrong."

    A rapist can harm one person, but he can be punished according to law. A corporation can harm thousands of people, but it can be punished according to law. A politician can harm millions of people and write his own "get of out jail free card" into law, as well as enabling thousands of bad acts perpetrated by rapists or corporations or whatever evil buddies he has.

    Periodically, there's a debate around here about the death penalty and when (if ever) it should be applied. As far as I'm concerned, the debate shouldn't begin with murderers or rapists or cop-killers, because they have nothing compared to corrupt politicians in terms of the potential harm they can do to society. An inefficient or useless politician should be voted out of office. But one who deliberately lies to the public resulting in serious harm or acts against the public's interest in an egregious fashion deserves whatever the maximum penalty is that our justice system hands out.

    Otherwise, we're effectively handing them license to legally redefine "right" and "wrong" in their favor, and that often has the potential to inflict much greater harm than any single corporation on its own.

  • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @08:56AM (#47055281) Homepage

    The reason I hate the cable providers more than the music/movie industries is that it is harder to boycott the cable providers. You can cut the cord and get rid of cable TV, but if you want Internet access, you might only have access through your local cable company. (Like I do.) So you are locked into paying whatever your cable provider says you will pay for whatever Internet access speed they decide to give you. Don't like it? Go without Internet (or go back to dial up if you still have a landline or use the much more expensive wireless). There are indie options for music and movies. There isn't an "indie Internet access."

  • Re:Not me (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jawnn ( 445279 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @09:03AM (#47055331)

    The industry I hate the most is the fossil fuels industry Not just because of global warming, but mostly because they control the politicians and stop anything being done about it.

    The telecom industry spends, proportionately, far more on it's purchases of lawmakers than any other group. For that reason, I hate them the most.

  • Re:Not me (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ehiris ( 214677 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @10:31AM (#47056033) Homepage

    Do you have any idea how incredibly inefficient walking is in terms of energy consumption?

    Factoring in how inefficient food production is, you are only getting about 40 mpg when walking. []

A committee takes root and grows, it flowers, wilts and dies, scattering the seed from which other committees will bloom. -- Parkinson