Bright House Digital Experience

Peter : On Rad's Radar?
Peter
| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

Bright House Digital Experience

Our house has been a Bright House Road Runner customer for almost 12 years. And a DISH Network customer for 10. The DVR is dying on the DISH and DISH wants me to pay full price to replace it. Um, no. So I call Bright House (BHN) to upgrade my Internet and home phone package to Digital Cable. It costs about $35 more including HD.

BHN had a contractor out here in 2 hours to install. There wasn't much to install. I have 2 sets of coax runs in my house - one for BHN and one for DISH. All the tech had to do was plug in my set-top box and watch me change some cables out. The box was used. And you only get one box. The other TV's have to be cable ready but get less than 80 channels, no pay-per-view, no guide or channel info.

The DVR is basic at best. It is cumbersome to set schedules up. The DISH DVR was wicked easy with a great search function. I had issues with the DISH DVR software upgrade - like it erased my box - but even that version is better and easier than this hokey BHN DVR platform.

Remote batteries were dead. Set top box kept freezing up and clicking. BHN came out yesterday to swap out the set-top box. The new one doesn't freeze up.

The TV Guide was so slow that as my wife said, It takes 20 minutes to find a show to watch and by then its almost over. (Some channels do have a nifty feature that lets you start at the beginning.)  Every channel is in the guide. No color coding to distinguish between subscribed channels, PPV, and unsubscribed channels. So many On-Demand Channels that have to load to show you the available content. (And when you see the content, like Superman Returns for $1.99 which is playing on FX HD channel for free, you get frustrated.)  I went through and set up favorites and blocked changes that are useless -- that didn't work sincel all of them still show up. BSN digital TV service is awful. We are likely switching back or going to try DirecTV. 

DISH is struggling since it lost AT&T as a distribution channel. Customer servicie has slid in my experience. It is more concerned with gaining new customers than keeping old ones. In today's marketplace that is a dumb deal. Customer acquisition costs are too high.

FiOS is available in my neighborhood, but as anyone that knows me can attest, I dislike VZ immensely. Writing that check for my business POTS line monthly makes me grind my teeth. Plus I have seen too many of my neighbors go from Verizon FiOS back to BHN. Billing - Surprise! - and Customer Service - another surprise - issues.  And as the Washington Post writes here, there is a day coming when the RBOC financial house of cards will fall.
  • Upgrades from 2.5G to 3G and now 4G is expensive.
  • Handset subsidies.
  • Almost flat ARPU.
  • Buying customer growth through acquisitions.
  • TV is the least profitable of the triple play - so while MSO's went from least profitable to most profitable, RBOC's went the other way.
  • FiOS and U-Verse build outs;
  • International backbone upgrades;
  • Domestic IP Backbone improvements;
  • new product launches like CDN and managed services;
  • merger integration efforts;
  • debt from acquisitions and network builds;
  • healthcare and pension expenses;
  • lobbying efforts - federal, state, county and city including for TV franchises;
  • marketing and advertising expenditures; and
  • customer acquisition costs in flat markets (TV, POTS, broadband, cellular)
All of these outpourings of big money has to catch up to their earnings statements soon, because there is too much going out. According to BHN, it has taken 500,000 POTS lines from Verizon. At $30 per month, that's $15M per month or $180M in one market.

Sorry for the free flow wrting here. Just giving you my thoughts.


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