Welcome to the end of the week! Just sit back, relax, and enjoy this weeks roundup in another edition of Happy Hour.
Trial of Comcast
It’s been a bad week for Comcast. It started when a customer released a recording of his experience with customer service. It’s worth a listen. Despite Comcast’s apologies blaming their customer rep went rogue, news broke that this is par for the course. To add to that PR mess, a video repair agent fessed up to more problems to the Consumerist.
All of this is the epitome of what’s wrong with the cable industry. It’s one of the few businesses that can build customer disdain along with growing revenues and profits.
Of course, cable companies have been on trial for decades. Who wouldn’t jump ship if a better option came along?
About nine months ago I cut the cable cord, saving myself about $1,100 per year, and replaced with a combination of local, Netflix, and Amazon Prime. I don’t miss it. And I won’t go back.
But not everyone can do the same. The two biggest reasons more people don’t drop cable is live sports and slow internet speed.
Sports I can understand. I’d argue live sports is the number one reason more people don’t leave cable behind. We’ve grown accustomed to the access of every game possible. Even if you could get live streaming sports, the quality wouldn’t compare to HD.
That brings us to the second biggest reason more people don’t cut the cord – slow internet speeds. The average download speed in the U.S. is good enough to stream to one TV without issues, but it’s ridiculously slow for whats needed. It’s even worse compared to the rest of the world. In fact, we pay more per Mbps speed than in most countries.
The average family has how many TVs, computers, tablets, and other devices connected at the same time? The more gadgets you have, the more bandwidth you need. The cable companies, with its regional monopolies, have no real incentive to offer more speed.
Yes, the idea of a faster internet brings a lot of talk of change with things like Google Fiber, but the real answer is wireless. The biggest challenger to the cable companies hold on your TV and internet bill is mobile providers (the CEO of Softbank breaks it down in this interview).
We’re moving to a mobile first world. At some point in the next decade, wireless speeds will be fast enough to handle all those gadgets at once. Cable companies have until then to change consumer perception before the exodus begins.