With the recent merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable, how much worse can the customer service experience potentially get?
Cable service has been on the decline for the past few years. With more users connecting to multiple devices, cable has become slower and slower. Meanwhile, services like Netflix and Hulu are invading the digital space to provide high speed streams of different content for a fraction of the cost.
So what does this mean for the future of cable companies?
Here at Fueled, we believe that the recent merger is not a good thing.
In fact, in a recent article written by Kevin Roose, we learn the merger really shouldn’t have happened at all. Combining these two companies creates a huge monopoly in the market, and in the end, the consumer gets the short end of the stick.
However, all is not lost. There are new ideas and technology on the horizon that could change the landscape of cable forever, and cable companies are either going to have to move with the times, or face the fact that they will lose subscribers.
What Lies Ahead
So what is this new technology that everyone keeps talking about? It's called fiber optic cable. Who is providing it? Google and Verizon. Sure, in the short term, satellite Internet is a viable option, but that only has the coverage fiber optic cable has, not the speed.
A temporary fix would be to invest in wireless hotspots for additional coverage, but that would quickly be outpaced.
The problem with cable is that it was only designed with TV in mind; cable companies didn’t foresee the future of the Internet. Fiber optic cable users don't jostle with everyone else at 7 pm at night trying to stream a stuttering clip on Netflix.
Where’s the Fiber At?
The kicker, though, is that Google offers free Internet in those areas at two basic speeds: 1 or 5 Mbps. This has forced the local cable providers to get competitive. Google is in no rush to roll this out across the country, though.
They’re trying to force cable providers to provide cheaper and better Internet, which is the complete opposite of what cable providers have actually been doing. They’ve raised their prices by approximately 5 percent each year. That is disgraceful.
The Next Move for Cable Companies
So really, what is there left to do? Even with Comcast and Time Warner Cable merging, Google could launch residential fiber optic cable worldwide with minimal fuss, if they wanted to.
TWC and Comcast have both started to offer more competitive options, like free WiFi spots and cheaper plans, but in the end, it's not going to fix their declining popularity. Shared networks don’t work well when TV and Internet run on the same cable and are accessed by millions of devices at the same time.
Cable companies need to make the change to fiber optic cable or face becoming obsolete as the end user becomes savvy and looks for their own solution.
We could possibly see the demise of TV and cable all together.
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