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Survey: Over Half The Country Thinks The Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger Is A Terrible Idea




We here at Consumerist are skeptical at best about Comcast’s bid to merge with Time Warner Cable. From where we sit, the deal looks distinctly anticompetitive and likely to harm consumers. Plenty of other folks agree, but not just lawmakers and advocacy organizations. It turns out, over half the country thinks this is a bad idea.

Our colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports ran a nationally representative survey to see what ordinary people think about Comcast and its plan to buy out Time Warner Cable, and the responses weren’t pretty. A full 56% of Americans oppose the merger, and only 11% of respondents were in favor of it.


But even though a third of respondents didn’t have a strong opinion on whether Comcast and TWC should be able to merge, they still think the resulting corporate marriage will be harmful for consumers on every front.


About three quarters of respondents — 74% — believe that the merger will increase cable and internet prices for everyone. That same number also agreed that the merger will leave consumers with even fewer choices for providers, because smaller companies will not be able to compete.


As for customer service? The most-hated providers in the most-hated industry aren’t likely to win themselves any new fans with this move. A solid two thirds (66%) believe that the lack of competition will leave Comcast with no reason to bother improving their customer service — which 54% predicted will get even worse.


But above all else — customer service, costs, and monopolistic tendencies — consumers are concerned about their very ability to access the content of their choosing. With net neutrality regulations up in the air and peering disputes affecting content companies nationwide, it’s no surprise that a full 81% of respondents are afraid that Comcast’s post-merger market share would give them the leverage to favor their own programming and scuttle their competitors’.


Comcast’s claims about how beneficial their plan to buy TWC is, on the other hand, don’t seem to fly at all. Just 16% agreed that the merger would increase Comcast’s operating efficiency and lower consumer prices, and only a third agreed that the combination of the two companies would allow for more innovative products and services to reach consumers.


Delara Derakhshani, policy counsel for Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, said, “Most Americans don’t have time to follow complicated corporate mergers but this deal has definitely captured the public’s attention. Consumers are tired of rising monthly bills and lousy customer service for cable and Internet and have little faith that this mega merger will make things any better.”


Maybe that’s why Comcast earned itself a shiny golden poo this year. Meanwhile, the survey respondents have already proven to be prescient: 61% felt that if the merger were to be go forward, it would be seen as a green light for other companies to make the same move.


The survey was conducted in April; AT&T and DirecTV announced their plan to merge — for the sake of competing with Comcast, they claim — in May.




by Kate Cox via Consumerist

Evolución del alcance orgánico de FaceBook por sectores #infografia #infographic #socialmedia

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ISPs Are Mostly Delivering The Speeds They Advertise, Just Not Consistently

realvads What does it mean when a cable company advertises “blazing fast Internet” or download speeds “up to 15 Mbps”? Does that mean all the time for everyone, or just an average? And how far from those “up to” speeds can an Internet service provider be before they have some explaining to do?


The FCC has released its latest Measuring Broadband America report for 2014, which looks at the actual speeds that American consumers are getting from the nation’s largest ISPs and how those stack up against what those ISPs are promising.


The good news: For the first time in the four years that the FCC has been doing this report, ISPs as a whole are delivering the speeds they promise… on average.


As the chart at the top shows, some ISPs are doing better than others. For example, Verizon FiOS, Comcast, and Cablevision are each delivering sustained uploads and download speeds that meet or exceed the advertised rates. Others, mostly DSL providers are still not able to deliver the speeds they promise. But even the worst provider in the study, Windstream, is still coming in above 80% of its advertised speeds.


But the FCC’s first look at the consistency of these speeds shows some cracks in the system.

consistency


This chart can be a little confusing. The standard for consistency set by the FCC for this metric was whether 80% of an ISP’s customers get the full advertised speed 80% of the time. So while Cablevision, Comcast, Cox, Mediacom, FiOS, and ViaSat/Exede all delivered sustained speeds that are above the advertised levels, only Cablevision and FiOS are consistently delivering the promised speeds. Meanwhile, many of the DSL providers — Frontier, Verizon, Windstream — are far from consistent in delivering advertised speeds.


FCC Chair Tom Wheeler has directed the commission to reach out to ISPs that are providing slower than advertised and/or highly inconsistent speeds to find out what these companies are doing to resolve these discrepancies.


“Consumers deserve to get what they pay for,” said Wheeler in a statement. “While it’s encouraging to see that in the past these reports have encouraged providers to improve their services, I’m concerned that some providers are failing to deliver consistent speeds to consumers that are commensurate to their advertised speeds.”


With regard to the hot-button topic of interconnection — the points at which commercial bandwidth providers dump off their data to ISPs to carry the last mile to consumers — and the congestion of interconnection points, the FCC didn’t include any data on that.


The report states that it has historically not counted statistics for data over degraded interconnection points because that had usually just been a correctable network error as opposed to something systemic.


However recent spats between ISPs like Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T and Netflix’s bandwidth providers have affected a large number of people and the FCC recognizes that “consumers accessing services and content over the affected paths would likely see a significant degradation in their service.”


And so the report does not include measurements from degraded interconnection points, but the FCC has collected test results from impacted servers and is releasing this information for others to pick apart.


Chairman Wheeler recently directed his staff to investigate this type of congestion and has obtained details on the deals Netflix made with Comcast and Verizon to pay for better access to their networks.




by Chris Morran via Consumerist