5 Telling Quotes From the Comcast Franchise Meeting

Turns out, lots of people have very strong feelings about Comcast.

So many of them have strong feelings, in fact, that the basement conference room at the Philadelphia City Institute — the site of the first in a series of meetings about the company’s franchise agreement renewal with the city — was filled to overflowing during a lunchtime meeting today, as a parade of speakers marched forward to share how they believe Comcast can better serve the company’s Philadelphia customers.

There were the usual complaints about customer service and billing but also pleas for the company to maintain access to and funding for the PhillyCAM network of community-access channels, demands for a la carte channel selection, and challenges for the company to increase its commitment to public education in the city.

“We should be the shining example of what they can offer the rest of the country,” said one man, a Drexel grad who works as a web developer. Read more »

Analysis: What if Comcast Has Peaked?

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Here’s an important question for Philadelphia’s future: Has Comcast peaked? Has its trajectory of ever-more success, ever-bigger profits, and ever-far-reaching power hit a plateau? Has its ability to grow found its limits?

The failure of the Comcast-Time Warner merger doesn’t mean the company is finished and should pack it in, of course. Even without the addition of Time Warner’s subscribers, Comcast is still the largest cable provider in the United States. But the company is facing some headwinds — some that have been apparent for a while, some that revealed themselves during the failed merger process.

Here are three reasons to suspect it’s possible — possible — that Comcast has seen its brightest days, and may be about to go into a bit of decline: Read more »

Comcast Rolls Out Superfast Internet … Elsewhere

Comcast announced plans to release a new lightning-fast Internet service in three markets markets, but Philadelphia will have to wait to get its turn.

Dubbed Gigabit Pro, it delivers 2-gigabit-per-second service to homes via a fiber network. Comcast boasts that the service is “at least double what anyone else provides.”

Still seeming to be in ‘pilot mode,’ the company plans to roll out Gigabit Pro first in Atlanta next month, then in the San Francisco area in June. Just this week, the company announced a third market: South Florida. Philadelphia, and other markets, will have to wait until the end of the year. Read more »

Comcast’s Brian Roberts Made $33 Million in 2014

Brian Roberts

Comcast filed financial information with the SEC today, and there are some juicy nuggets in the report.

Deadline Hollywood reports:

It isn’t often that the No. 2 guy makes more than the boss, but it happened at Comcast in 2014 according to the company proxy, just filed at the SEC. CEO Brian Roberts made $32.96 million, up 5.1% — but NBCUniversal chief Stephen Burke got a 9% raise to $33.92 million.

Roberts’ package consisted of a $2.9 million salary, $5.3 million in stock awards, $5.4 million in option awards, $9 million in non-equity incentives, $6.5 million change in pension value, and $4 million in other compensation. The last category includes $346,564 for personal use of the company plane.

Read more »

These Two Charts Show the Severity of Comcast’s Customer Service Conundrum

Most of what we know about Comcast’s seemingly legendary customer service woes is anecdote-driven. Every other week, it seems, we get a new story about a guy losing his house or his job or even his good name because of the company. Now we have some data to back up what all those anecdotes are telling us: Comcast is really unpopular.

Here are two new charts, created by SurveyMonkey and reported by CNET, that show the depths of the company’s problem:

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 12.21.45 PM Read more »

Washington Man Will Sell Home Because of Comcast Goof

It’s been weeks since a Comcast customer service story went viral — but don’t worry. It’s usually just a matter of time. And sure enough, a new story has emerged.

Here’s the short version: Guy works from home. Guy wants to buy a house. House doesn’t have broadband Internet service. Guy asks Comcast — the biggest local provider — if he could be hooked up at the new house. Comcast says yes. Guy buys house. Turns out Comcast doesn’t have a ready connection to the house after all. Now guy must sell the house he bought three months ago.

It’s a sad story. Consumerist reports on the plight of “Seth,” a Washington state man who has endured the above tale over the last few months: Read more »

Comcast Adds Bodies to Improve Customer Service

Comcast is going to try to fix its customer-service woes the old-fashioned way: By throwing bodies at it.

The company announced Monday it is tripling the size of its “social care team” — the folks who respond to customer complaints via Facebook and Twitter — and equipping them to help solve problems quickly.

“The social care team has access to all the same advanced tools and training as our call center agents do, which means they can quickly jump in to solve problems,” Tom Karnishak, Comcast’s senior vice president for customer services, said in a blog post. “They also have a direct line to our tech teams so they can schedule appointments.”

Other news outlets said the announcement means the social care staff will increase its numbers from 20 to more than 60. Company officials indicated that a number of those new jobs would be created in Philadelphia as part of the initiative. Read more »

Apple to Go After Comcast With Web TV Offering

Apple logo FooTToo / Shutterstock.com | Comcast Center, Jeff Fusco

Apple logo, FooTToo / Shutterstock.com | Comcast Center, Jeff Fusco

Apple and Comcast are about to start competing head-to-head.

The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that Apple is planning a “Web TV” service — basically a stripped-down cable offering, delivered via the Internet — that would feature 25 channels. It’s a Comcast cable competitor that, as of now, will carry no channels actually owned by Comcast.

That means no NBC. No Bravo. No SyFy. Read more »

HBO Go: The Difference Between Apple and Comcast

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Here’s why Apple is at the top of America’s most-loved companies and Comcast nearer the bottom: Apple is trying to make HBO available to more people — and Comcast, well, Comcast sometimes gets in the way.

News that HBO Go would be available on Apple devices almost overshadowed Monday’s formal unveiling of the Apple Watch. “For years we’ve been praying for HBO to shrug off the cable companies and let us binge on Game of Thrones, and now that they’ve come through, it’s time to put up (our money) or shut up (and keep using our parents’ logins),” GQ said in reaction.

Comcast, meanwhile, has lately been buried under a chorus of complaints that it won’t let its customers stream HBO Go to another device — the PS4 gaming module.

“HBO Go is finally available for Playstation 4 users, huzzah! Unless you have Comcast. Then you’re shit out of luck, because the cable giant isn’t supporting it,” Gizmodo reported last week. Read more »

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