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Yep, cable companies still suck

Published Aug 8th, 2018 6:16PM EDT
Consumer Reports best tv providers

I am sure that this will come as a tremendous shock to the five people who have had pleasant interactions with their cable provider in the past, but according to Consumer Reports‘ latest survey, people still dislike their pay TV providers immensely.

176,000 Consumer Reports members participated in the most recent telecommunications survey, and while the data isn’t accessible to the non-paying public, the post that Consumer Reports wrote doesn’t leave a lot to the imagination:

When we asked for feedback on their experiences with pay TV, home internet, home telephone service, and bundled plans, they shared their displeasure.

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 trend seemed to be that small companies did the best. Google Fiber won top marks for its TV service and placed favourably for internet, with EPB, a municipal broadband service run as a public utility Tennessee, taking home top marks for speed, reliability, and value.

As always, the cost of services — the average triple-play bundle was $184 a month! — and hidden fees seemed to be the biggest sticking points:

Nearly three-quarters of the survey respondents who have a bundled plan—TV, internet, and phone—said they got a special promotional price when they signed up. And 45 percent were still enjoying that rate when they answered our survey. So you might expect that respondents with bundled services feel like they’re getting a good deal.

But that’s not the case. Every company but one received the lowest score possible for value. Armstrong, the lone exception, was the only provider to earn a favorable mark for customer service as well.

The bundles from Spectrum, CenturyLink, Optimum, Windstream, Mediacom, and Frontier Communications were among the lowest-rated overall; all except for Optimum received the lowest marks possible for customer service, and Optimum’s still wasn’t favorable.

Consumer Reports is also running a special campaign called “What the Fee?!” intended to draw attention to miscellaneous administrative, network, and programming fees that are silently jacking up bill prices.