INTERNET PROVIDERS LAST IN CONSUMER SATISFACTION

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Internet and subscription television service providers tied for last place in customer satisfaction in the most recent reports released by the American Consumer Satisfaction Index released this month. Even wireless telephone providers, an industry loathed by consumers, fared slightly better. Consumers have been constantly complaining about the high cost of internet providers, but Congress has been slow to provide relief. Comcast Corp. is the largest cable operator and the largest home internet provider in the United States and enjoys the benefit of vast lobbying powers. Many consumers believe the business should be regulated in the same manner that public utilities are. The cable industry is opposed to such regulatory measures, and argue that public utilities frequently fail, and then need to be bailed out at public expense. Michael Powell, CEO of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA), said “Because the internet is not regulated as a public utility, it grows and thrives, watered by private capital and a light regulatory touch”. This is not a bad pitch from the former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission/turned hired gun for the cable companies. Of course, without the regulations, prices for consumers increase, service satisfaction ratings plunge, and the cable companies get richer. When you think about the fact that the internet was given to the public free by unselfish scientists, and these “Johnny-come-lately” parasites come along later for the immense profit rides, it kind of pisses you off. Pin your local politicians down and convince them to vote for the consumer. Also, take the time to forward your complaints about these multi-billionaire cable company owners. Their cost-to-profit ratios are outrageous—they are making weigh too much money. Submit your comments to this government Agency– let them know what you think – your input does matter!

Meanwhile, the FCC is fining AT&T $100 million for purposely slowing data speeds of customers who have unlimited service plans. The way it works, is that once a certain threshold of usage is reached, the speed is reduced thereby effectively retarding the quality of the user’s streaming abilities, and usage quality in general. The New York Times reported:

“In 2007, AT&T began offering unlimited data plans, according to the F.C.C., and in 2011 it began capping data           speeds for consumers enrolled in unlimited plans who had already exceeded a certain amount of data in a single         billing cycle. That capped data speed, the agency said, was far slower than advertised speeds. The agency’s                     investigation found that the average customer experienced slower service for 12 days each billing cycle’”

   “Unlimited means unlimited,” Travis LeBlanc, the F.C.C.’s chief of the enforcement bureau, said in a statement on      Wednesday. “As today’s action demonstrates, the commission is committed to holding accountable those                   broadband providers who fail to be fully transparent about data limits.’”

The issue has been going on since 2011, much to the chagrin of thousands of customers who have complained; many felt that “unlimited” service did not come at the price of service at inferior levels. The FCC has agreed stating, “Consumers deserve to get what they pay for”.

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