Is The End Near For Comcast? - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Is The End Near For Comcast?

AOL.COM - It isn't easy being a cable and Internet service provider these days.

Penny-pinching consumers are turning to cheaper options. Television broadcasters and networks are demanding more money out of the cable companies, and couch potatoes are tired of paying for dozens if not hundreds of channels that they will never watch.

Then we get to performance. When customers are paying nearly $100 for digital cable packages -- and far more than that when bundled with Internet connections and broadband telephone services -- they demand flawless uptime.

It's not a realistic expectation, and it's why you will often see cable companies and wireless carriers among the most hated companies in the country.

I'm not kidding. Comcast (CMCSK) was actually last year's winner in Consumerist.com's annual Worst Company in America contest. It's being accused of dodging the distinction this time around by asking employees to vote multiple times for its competition.

Despite the persistent AT&T (T) U-verse marketers that knock on my door every other month, I've stuck it out with Comcast. I know its shortcomings. My Internet connection is buggy, and it doesn't seem to get any better despite regular technician visits. I've lived through the familiar horror stories of tardy repair appointments, ineffective customer service, and outage credits that never arrive. I would bolt, but folks on rival services also do a fair share of bellyaching.

However, there are apparently people that are far more frustrated with Comcast. The country's largest cable provider lost 165,000 net cable subscribers in its latest quarter. This isn't some one-time quarterly fluke. Comcast has seen 443,000 more homes cancel than sign up so far this year, and that's after losing 757,000 accounts in 2010 after shedding 623,000 customers in 2009.

The entire premium television industry isn't in a funk. For every Comcast and Dish Network (DISH) that lost subscribers during July, August, and September, there's a DirecTV (DTV) or AT&T U-verse that gained new homes.

The overall trend is still pretty troublesome. Given the growing popularity of streaming services, online entertainment diversions, and networks that stream shows through their own websites, Comcast may never see its subscriber numbers turn up. Click here to read more

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