Comcast, Time Warner marked poorly in consumer survey

Cable giants Comcast and Time Warner Cable are near the bottom in a recent national survey of customer satisfaction, which should discourage federal regulators from embracing a proposed merger of the two companies, a consumer interest group said on Tuesday.

Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, noted that the two companies ranked 15th and 16th out of 17 television service providers in the latest survey.

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“Both Comcast and Time Warner Cable rank very poorly with consumers when it comes to value for the money and have earned low ratings for customer support,” Delara Derakhshani, a policy counsel with the group, said in a statement. “A merger combining these two huge companies would give Comcast even greater control over the cable and broadband Internet markets, leading to higher prices, fewer choices, and worse customer service for consumers.”

Consumers in the survey criticized both companies for value and customer support, according to the group. Time Warner was also chided for poor reliability.

“In an industry with a terrible track record with consumers, these two companies are among the worst when it comes to providing good value for the money,” Derakhshani added.

A Comcast spokesperson said that the company was not satisfied with the results of the survey, but was committed to progress and making investments to improve its customers’ experience.  

Comcast announced its $45 billion plan to buy Time Warner Cable in February. The deal would combine the nation’s two largest cable providers which critics have worried will reduce competition.

The companies have noted that they currently do not compete for service in the same major markets and have said that the deal would make the resulting firm better able to compete.

The Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission are both charged with overseeing the terms of the merger, to ensure that it would not harm consumer interest or violate antitrust protections. 

-- Updated with additional information at 5:41 p.m.