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NCTA

June 30, 2015


Industry News

How Smartphones are Improving the Cable Customer Service Experience

June 30, 2015

In his recent LinkedIn column, “State of the Cable Industry: How We’re Changing the Stereotype of the Cable Guy,” NCTA President & CEO Michael Powell said that turning around the industry’s customer service reputation is a huge priority and one that companies are committed to, and investing in. We’ve all seen the stories and surveys which underline the challenges – certainly not something we enjoy reading – but it’s also important to highlight the improvements that are being made and the new techniques are being implemented. After all, the number of hours that American consumers watch TV and use the Internet is only increasing. When services have glitches, customers are looking for quick, helpful solutions.

Many cable companies, for example, are leveraging smartphones and tablets to not only provide better products that can be used far from the home, but to prevent technology problems before they even begin.

If you are a Time Warner Cable customer, you can now check on the status of the equipment in your home with a few swipes on a smartphone or tablet. Time Warner Cable in 2014 re-launched its mobile app for iOS and Android to, among other things, let customers troubleshoot their cable and Internet equipment.

“If your modem is off-kilter or your set-top box is acting up, the app lets you go in and look at diagnostics on your phone in real-time,” says Eric Burton, a Group VP at Time Warner Cable. From there, “You can determine whether it’s something you can fix yourself by initiating a re-set, which you can do with the mobile app, or if you need to talk to us.”

Time Warner Cable isn’t the only company using smartphones to make customer service better. When Suddenlink technicians are on a job in a customer’s home, their iPhones are tied into the company’s workforce automation system, which automatically checks the health of that customer’s equipment. The system helps Suddenlink techs know everything inside and outside of the house is working properly before they leave a customer’s home.

And take a look at Sjoberg’s, a small Minnesotan cable system, who’s field technicians use their iPhones to check an app that helps them to locate issues in the field. After it’s been determined that there’s a problem, the app can establish, for example, that the issue is about 700 feet from a modem or some 1600 feet from a cable modem termination system, a piece of equipment usually located in a cable system’s headend.

“The phone app is like radar,” says Richard Sjoberg, the ISP’s CEO. “Instead of being in an area that’s one-mile square, you have it nailed down to a much smaller area, so you know where to start looking. That cuts down outage time and makes our crews more productive.” And with more and more customers relying on their home Internet for business, quicker resolution of system issues is paramount.

Using smartphones to improve the customer experience is just one way in which cable companies are working to fix this problem, but there are more.

Come back to platform, where every other Tuesday we’ll be publishing another story on how cable is working to fix the customer experience so you can get back to working, watching, chatting, and everything else you love doing with cable.

John Solit

@johnsolit

June 26, 2015


Broadband & Internet

Behind the Numbers: Where American Broadband Stands

@johnsolit

June 26, 2015

This week Akamai released their latest State of the Internet report with updated broadband speeds from across the world. The report revealed that three of the top five fastest regions worldwide are US states. Peak broadband speeds in the US increased 31 percent year-over-year to 53.3 Mbps.

We highlight average peak connection speeds because Akamai contends it’s a better, more accurate measure of the Internet’s capacity than average connection speed.

The map below shows where to find the country’s top Internet speeds:

AveragePeakSpeeds-2015-980

And the chart below proves just how competitive American broadband is on a world scale. Delaware, Virginia, and Washington, DC all either beat or tied the peak average connection speed of the oft-lauded-for-broadband South Korea.

Top20Regions_63015-900

 

For more stats and facts about broadband Internet, visit our new page: Broadband By The Numbers.

NCTA

June 25, 2015


Industry News

New Energy Conservation Agreement Reached for Broadband Equipment

June 25, 2015

Today, NCTA and CEA announced a new voluntary agreement among major equipment manufacturers and companies representing 90 percent of the residential broadband market to improve the energy efficiency of routers, modems, and certain other devices (collectively known as small network equipment, or SNE) that consumers use to access the Internet. You can get the details here, including the full list of signatories, but the good news for consumers is that this new agreement is expected to help reduce energy consumed in SNE devices by about 10 to 20 percent compared to current models.

Broadband already delivers significant overall energy savings for consumers and the environment simply by facilitating telecommuting. While modems and routers are not the number-one energy consumers in your home, their use has surged. In fact, ninety percent of American homes use three or more Internet-connected devices. Improving their energy efficiency can add up to real power and cost savings.

The SNE agreement follows the path of earlier work done by the cable and consumer electronics industry to adopt and implement a similar Voluntary Agreement aimed at making set-top boxes more energy efficient.

This prior agreement has already led to tangible results and, as estimated by independent auditor, reduced national set top energy consumption by 4.4 percent in just the first year of the agreement. This has saved consumers roughly $168 million in energy bills.

Like the earlier set-top box agreement, the SNE Agreement demonstrates the progress that can be made through industry collaboration. Compliance will be assured through independent audits and lab tests, and the auditor’s published annual reports will enable the public to measure progress.

CableLabs, the cable industry’s non-profit research and development consortium has made a significant contribution to the development of the technical specification in the SNE agreement. The support of its professional testing staff, use of the CableLabs Energy Lab, and its coordination of the many contributors to the technical specification were paramount in creating this voluntary agreement.

As the cable industry continues in its quest to offer world-class Internet products and services, we’re confident this latest SNE Agreement is good news for consumers and will continue the trend of more energy efficient devices in American homes.

John Solit

@johnsolit

June 24, 2015


Broadband & Internet

Today's Specials Include Incredible Television

@johnsolit

June 24, 2015

Today, you can watch premium TV with a cable package, through OTT services like Netflix and Hulu, or by buying single episodes and full season passes of your favorite shows on iTunes or Amazon. No matter how you watch it, it’s going to be great content. But if you’re looking for value, the way to go is the cable package. It’s simply more content for less money.

Print

 

John Solit

@johnsolit

June 18, 2015


Technology & Devices

What is 802.11ac and Why Do We Need to Protect Wi-Fi for It?

@johnsolit

June 18, 2015

It’s expected that by 2020, the world will have 50 billion Wi-Fi enabled devices. Everything from baby monitors and tablets to things we can’t even imagine today will be voraciously feeding off of the wireless broadband in our homes, cafes, and even in our public parks. It’s practically ubiquitous now, but the seemingly magical technology…

John Solit

@johnsolit

June 15, 2015


Industry News

Fierce Competition in the Video Marketplace

@johnsolit

June 15, 2015

Over the last two decades, we’ve gone from relatively few ways to get video at home to literally dozens of choices. See how much the marketplace has changed:

NCTA

June 11, 2015


Public Policy

Unless the FCC Acts, A New Technology Could Disrupt Wi-Fi

June 11, 2015

Wi-Fi is popular. Really popular. 4 billion devices popular. So popular that more broadband data is carried over Wi-Fi than all other platforms combined. But is the miracle of Wi-Fi in jeopardy? It may be because the lifeblood of Wi-Fi – unlicensed spectrum – is potentially at risk by the deployment of a new technology…