The black-and-white days of radio chart show American Top 40 were when families would huddle around and listen to the singles that Billboard magazine had rated most popular. It was the beginning of our obsession with chart positions.
More recently, the 45-rpm slab of vinyl has faced competition for our entertainment-consumable discretionary spending. That competition started with video tape and has progressed to downloads and cord-cutting—the a la carte consumption of electronically delivered media.
So it would make sense that about the most interesting chart for cord-cutters and future-media consumers is Netflix’s ISP streaming rankings. Sorry, vinyl romantics.
The chart slams AT&T U-Verse’s fiber service by placing it in the No. 56 position, which, Netflix says, provides an average speed, if you can call it speed, of 1.44 Mbps.
For comparison, the top-ranking ISP according to Netflix is Google Fiber’s service, with a perky average speed of 3.59 Mbps.
What’s surprising is that another fiber provider, Verizon FIOS, also charts poorly, with 1.61 Mbps, and a No. 54 position.
Fiber is supposed to be a superior technology.
There are 60 positions in total for the expanded chart. The expanded chart includes minor ISPs.
For us industry-watchers, probably the most interesting positions, though, are Comcast’s cable, which shows up at a lethargic 2.82 Mbps, in the No. 21 spot, and Time Warner Cable, at a lumbering 2.16 Mbps, in the No. 44 position.
We’re not just interested because we’re the customers. I use Time Warner and Verizon FIOS. But, because they’ve been pitching the FCC for approval of a merger, and the merging of two of the largest ISPs is a big deal.
Which brings me to some media coverage that Comcast has been getting. Adrianna Jefferies at The Verge has been documenting what appears to be a slew of appalling customer service experiences relayed to her by current and previous Comcast employees.
The interviews imply that Comcast tries to upsell at every opportunity, including when a customer was 55 days late on her bill, in one case.
Worth a read if you’re formulating an opinion on whether the merger, and the idea of ever-enlarging media providers, is a good thing or not.
Unfortunately, though, the stream of examples will remind you of long, dismal, unproductive calls you’ve had with utilities. You know the ones. The ones where the CS script, at the end, in a delusional manner, implies they’ve somehow made your life better than it was before, when obviously, we all know, that it was better before you had anything to do with that particular bunch of idiots.
Dinner and appearances
And the second bit of Comcast media coverage this week that I have to share is a report in Politico that Comcast and Time Warner are sponsoring an upcoming dinner honoring FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn.
Comcast will be the $110,000 “presenting sponsor,” according to Alex Byers at Politico. Obviously, Clyburn, a regulator, is involved in the Comcast/Time Warner merger approval.
There are no rules disallowing businesses from helping to honor regulators, though, Byers says.
Seems pretty innocuous back-slapping to me. At least FCC Commissioner Clyburn comes from a citizenry-leaning Public Service Commission background.
Tom Wheeler, the current chairman of the FCC, and also involved in the merger, used to be President of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, the cable industry’s main trade association. And, he is, in fact, inducted into the Cable Television Hall of Fame.
Now, he’s maybe got a bit more work ahead of him, assuring everyone that he’s neutral.
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