Consumer Reports' latest telcoms survey finds that people hate their cable company with the fire of a thousand suns, and that they hate them even more than they did the last time they were asked, which is remarkable, because everyone hated them the last time they were asked.
But in case you're thinking that this is just endemic to operating an ISP or cable operator, that it's just impossible to do so in a way that pleases your customers, know this: there are several ISPs that people love! Who are these mysterious entities that somehow manage to do what multi-billion-dollar, highly concentrated, neutracidal telcoms operators have only gotten worse at with each passing year?
* Google (who want you to use the internet as much as possible).
* Cities (municipal internet is the one thing that federal and state governments are sure could never work, which is why Trump's FCC and red state legislatures have done everything they can to kill it)
* Small, mom-and-pop local ISPs (which the FTC and FCC have consistently allowed the big carriers to buy and destroy)
You really couldn't ask for better proof of regulatory capture by the telcoms industry than this series of surveys. The regulators and governments keep backing giant cable operators, allowing them to merge, allowing them to destroy net neutrality, allowing them to crush potential competitors with shenanigans about pole access and the like — and yet, every year, the public satisfaction with these companies plumbs new lows. Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers and regulators (and telco lobbyists and shills) consistently attack the kinds of companies that the public likes, that provides excellent value for money and high-quality service, making it harder and harder to run these superior businesses.
It would be one thing if this policy was affecting a luxury goods market like "premium non-dairy ice-cream" or something. But we're talking about bandwidth: access to the nervous system of the 21st century, the single wire that delivers free speech, a free press, the right to free assembly, access to jobs, education, health and civil and political life.
It's a fucking disaster.
In fact, most of the larger cable companies—Optimum (Cablevision), Comcast, and Spectrum (Charter, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks)—earned low scores in multiple categories, settling into the bottom half of the 25 providers in CR's new telecom service ratings.
The lone standout for TV service was Google Fiber, which earned top marks for technical support, customer service, and equipment ease of use, plus favorable ratings for reliability and the selection of programs offered in its basic package.
People Still Don't Like Their Cable Companies, CR's Latest Telecom Survey Finds
[James K. Willcox/Consumer Reports]
(Image: Alex E. Proimos, CC-BY)