02/18/14 by Rennie Detore
Comcast flexed its cable communications muscle recently and purchased one of its competitors, Time Warner Cable, for a cool 45 billion dollars in a move that sent another competitor packing and customers potentially fretting.
The monopoly is alive and prospering.
The root of the concern has little to do with the money that changed hands or even the fact that Time Warner specifically is now property of Comcast, pending final approval from those who regulate these types of mergers and acquisitions. The cable industry already catches plenty of flack for moving at the speed of light when it comes to its technology but rarely stopping to service the needs of its customers efficiently.
You could easily deduce that as Comcast continues to gobble up those companies it competes with, the harder it is going to be to reverse the trend of customer service falling woefully short on the priority list. A lack of viable competitors to Comcast also could easily result in pricing that hardly is friendly to customers, both new and old.
Competition, in any field of play or business, makes every entity involved work a little harder to gain business, keep the share of the market they already have and increase their viability within their particular industry.
A competition starts to fall, whether they're purchased or simply run out of funds and go out of business, the remaining players tend to relax how they do business, whether that is new features or actually caring if customers are happy or not. That relaxation doesn't come in the form of wanting new business but rather how the day to day operation becomes lazy and uninspired. That stagnate way of thinking could extend out to how these companies treat their customers.
Think of it this way: If you're the only restaurant in town, then people don't have much choice where they eat.
In the cable television, phone and internet sector, consumers might not exactly be enamored with gobbling up what Comcast alone has to offer. Less options for customers can translate into being force fed what the company is offering, plain and simple. If you don't like Comcast and its customer service, you don't have much choice in the matter.
The same goes for internet speed, DVR specs or home phone service.
Comcast probably is painting a much nicer picture internally and painting positives with a broad brush externally with every press conference or release from the organization. No rhetoric can replace the fact that Comcast and its customer approval rating isn't flattering, and the company buying one of its staunchest rivals probably won't push the needle favorably in the right direction.
One can only hope that Comcast takes this purchase as grounds to rally behind its ranking as the clear cut number one cable communications company and revolutionize the industry every chance it gets.
The alternative to that game plan is gouging consumers on price and rarely giving a second thought to how they treat customers.
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