A major annual consumer satisfaction survey is out, and it’s a mixed bag for the cable and telecom sector and all of us who use it. The bad: pay-TV, broadband, phone, and wireless companies still pretty much really suck, and most of us are very dissatisfied with them. The good: year over year, most of them are finally starting to suck less than they used to!
While the Federal Communications Commission has okayed maybe going ahead with creating a market for non-proprietary cable boxes, Verizon FiOS customers who have been using their Xbox consoles or smart TVs to access a subset of channels instead of renting extra cable boxes for each television set in their home are about to be disappointed, as Verizon is ending these apps. [More]
A spat between the nation’s largest cable company and Major League Baseball’s most storied franchise is getting ugly, with the New York Yankees’ YES Network launching a campaign urging fans to “Drop Comcast.” [More]
ESPN is easily the most expensive single channel in any basic cable lineup, accounting for around $5 of the average cable bill just on its own. Cable companies are also contractually barred from putting the all-sports network on any sort of premium tier, which is why it was big news last year when Verizon FiOS announced a new “Custom TV” pricing model that made ESPN completely optional for everyone. That’s also why ESPN’s parent company Disney sued Verizon, alleging breach of contract. Now, Verizon has revised Custom TV to include ESPN and other sports channels for customers who want them. [More]
Not even a year after Verizon FiOS began offering so-called “skinny” pay-TV bundles that don’t include the pricey ESPN in the required core package — and in the midst of a lawsuit filed by ESPN’s parent company Disney, alleging that Verizon is violating its contract by doing so — the telecom titan is now hinting that it’s the end times for this dream world where consumers weren’t forced to pay so much for a channel they care so little about. [More]
ESPN is, by far, the most expensive single channel on most cable customers’ basic cable bill, responsible for more than $5/month, with some industry analysts putting an approximately $8/month price tag on ESPN and ESPN 2 together. While it’s long been considered a basic cable must-have, millions of Americans have been dropping their pay-TV packages altogether, and recent surveys show that ESPN wouldn’t be a part of many folks’ ideal a la carte cable menu, meaning not everyone has a desperate need for ESPN. So, could cable companies hold on to their customers by lowering rates in exchange for saying goodbye to the 24-hour sports channel? [More]
It’s a pretty basic tenet of American commerce: if someone advertises something to you at a certain price, they actually have to provide you that thing at that price. Like, for example, a broadband internet connection: if a company like Verizon, Cablevision, or Time Warner Cable says it will give you a connection of a certain speed, it’s supposed to make good. But in one sate, the top legal office thinks the ISPs may not be making good on their claims, and wants to know what’s up.
A few months back, the city of New York released a damning audit of Verizon’s FiOS rollout in the Big Apple. According to Verizon, they have met their obligation to bring service to New York as laid out in the franchise agreement. But according to New Yorkers, the telecom giant has a long, long way yet to go.
Earlier this year, Verizon made clear what many industry watchers had known for years — that it was reaching the end of its first major buildout phase of Verizon FiOS service and that the company was going to focus on getting customers onto that network. But more than a dozen mayors, including the presumed future mayor of Comcast’s home city, have written the company to ask that it bring much-needed competition to their markets. [More]
New Jersey and Verizon are once again at odds over promises the telecom behemoth has made to bring FiOS service to the whole state. Unlike the last time Verizon and New Jersey had a stand-off over a promise to bring broadband, this contract is not twenty years old, or even ten. This agreement is a lot newer — and Verizon’s apparent way of weaseling out of meeting it a lot more subtle.
It’s not uncommon to see a cable provider commercial that pokes fun at or attempt to disprove a competitor for their claims of being the faster, less expensive, or just plain better option. But there’s one less lineup of such ads you’ll be seeing on your TV, as a judge ruled this week that Cablevision must stop running its ads that essentially call Verizon a “liar” regarding claims that it had the fastest wireless network.
Sen. Ed Markey of Massachussetts and Sen. Dick Blumenthal of Connecticut recently posed a handful of questions to the nation’s cable and satellite providers about their set-top boxes — Are they required? How many customers have them? Is there an option for customers to purchase their own? etc. While some providers were more transparent in their responses than others, there was one thing they all agreed on: We’re not telling you how much we make from leasing these devices. [More]
While plenty of Americans rush to acquire the latest and greatest in new telecom technology, there are some that only need the basic phone service they’ve had for decades. But as we’ve seen on multiple occasions recently, a number of traditional landline users are being left out in the cold as Verizon tries to transition customers away from copper line service and to fiberoptic phone lines. And for one elderly New Yorker, Verizon’s apparent inflexibility resulted in months of having absolutely no service at all. [More]
Since the spring launch of HBO Now, the streaming service that allows you to get HBO content without having to pay for a cable TV package, New York-based Cablevision was the only pay-TV/broadband provider selling subscriptions directly to its customers. Now the folks at Verizon have seen that there’s money to be made from people who want TV but don’t want cable, and is making HBO Now available for its FiOS and other broadband customers. [More]
As some cable and live-streaming services take a step back from offering costly sports-filled channels in their bundles, the parent company of the biggest sports network on cable is looking at other ways to continue its dominance, namely by selling direct to consumers. [More]