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Mediacom bottoms out in rankings [Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA)]
[April 05, 2014]

Mediacom bottoms out in rankings [Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA)]

(Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Where Consumer Reports ranked Mediacom - Telecom bundles (Providers that offer "triple-play" packages with phone, TV and Internet): 14th out of 14 qualifying service providers. - TV service: 17th out of 17. - Internet service: 28th out of 29. - Phone service: 26th out of 26. Source: May edition of Consumer ReportsMediacom customers are among the most unsatisfied in the nation, according to the results of a new customer survey from Consumer Reports.

But a company official said such reports are frequently flawed, as they fail to take into account Mediacom's unique customer base.

"There's always some issues with the sampling," said Mediacom spokeswoman Phyllis Peters, noting that larger competitors such as Comcast and Time Warner are used in urban areas. "Our footprint is so spread out, it's hard to do apples-to-apples (comparisons)." Mediacom, which provides cable, phone and Internet service in Dubuque and throughout the Midwest, ranked dead last in three of four customer-satisfaction categories. It was second to last in a fourth category. According to the report, the company is the worst provider of TV and phone services and telecom bundles, and it is the second-worst Internet provider.

Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization that bills itself as the "world's largest independent, consumer-product- testing organization." Ratings were compiled using responses from subscribers who completed a 2013 annual questionnaire.

But Peters, who spoke in general terms, said studies often rely on data from urban areas in which Mediacom isn't well represented. Gaining a reliable respondent sample is very difficult, she said.

"They don't cover a lot of where Mediacom is at," Peters said.

Questionnaires are sent to all Consumer Reports subscribers regardless of location, according to organization spokesman James McQueen. Neither large cities nor rural areas are targeted.

"We send it out, and it's literally based on responses we get," McQueen told TH Media. "We don't weight it or anything like that. No matter where they are, we just take the data that they give us." Peters said the company has made several customer-service advancements in recent years, including an automated phone system that can call customers back rather than force them to endure lengthy hold times.

Performance measures by the Federal Communications Commission show Mediacom consistently meets advertised Internet upload and download speeds, according to Peters.

"We're exceeding our advertised speeds," she said.

Dubuque leaders have little control over how providers offer service locally, said Craig Nowack, the city's cable TV coordinator.

A 2007 state law wiped away existing code that allowed for municipal franchise agreements. Nowack said it deregulated the industry heavily, though municipalities still are allowed to collect franchise fees and require capacity for public, education and government channels.

The ruling also opened the door for competing telecommunications businesses to set up shop in the area. However, though two companies secured state franchise rights to operate locally, neither has announced plans to offer services.

Most recently, a letter sent in November to Alliance Technologies, which informed city officials of its intent to offer video service locally last year, received no response, Nowack said.

"To my knowledge, they are not offering service in Dubuque," he said.

Peters said Mediacom will continue to explore ways to improve customer experience.

"Customer service is extremely important because it's a very competitive environment," she said.

(c) 2014 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.

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