Seeking to improve its customer service satisfaction, Mediacom is beginning a program to remodel its customer service centers to improve the customer experience. The first center to receive the facelift is in Waterloo, Iowa.
For more on Mediacom's plans and statistics about its struggles to overcome a reputation for poor customer service, CLICK HERE to read an article at Fierce Cable
Representatives of the American Cable Association (ACA) will be on hand to help municipal broadband operators navigate the next round of retransmission consent negotiations during the IAMU Fall Broadband Meeting. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 20, 2017 at the IAMU Office and Training Complex in Ankeny.
The next round of negotiations with TV stations for permission to carry their signals is expected to be arduous...and expensive. The ACA has been fighting on a national level for changes to the retransmission consent rules to give small operators more leverage in the process, but no significant changes are expected before most current RC agreements expire at the end of the year.
Other topics of discussion for the Fall Broadband Meeting are still under consideration. If you have an idea for a topic you'd like to see on the agenda, email me - firstname.lastname@example.org.
As Indianola Municipal Utilities looks toward the beginning of construction on their fiber-to-the-premise network later this summer, they are seeking to fill a key role to assist with the project. The job description is below...feel free to share with persons that may have an interest in this exciting opportunity!
Director of Communications
City of Indianola - Indianola, IA
$77,202 a year
Director of Communications
Indianola Municipal Utilities is currently welcoming applications for the position of Director of Communications.
The City of Indianola (pop. 14,278) is a growing community with a historic downtown, located approximately 15 minutes south of Des Moines. It is a safe community with Midwestern values, friendly people and excellent schools. Indianola, which is home to Simpson College, the world renowned Des Moines Metro Opera and the National Balloon Museum and U.S. Ballooning Hall of Fame, is known for its excellent access to outdoor activities, a nice trail system, five major parks and two golf courses. The community welcomes thousands of visitors annually who come to Indianola to enjoy major events such as the National Balloon Classic, Bike Night, the Warren County Fair and other events.
This position is responsible for a number of tasks, including, but not limited to:
The successful candidate will have at least five (5) years of experience in ISP, telephony, and/or fiber optic network operations and maintenance preferred. Supervisory experience with a proven track record in training and staff development is strongly preferred.
Graduation from high school. College degree from an accredited college or university with specialization in business, engineering or other field related to communications utility work; or any combination of experience and training which provides the required knowledge, skills and abilities.
Must be available for off work assignments, meetings and activities.
The position’s salary range is $77,202 – 99,343. IMU offers an excellent benefits package. Employment is contingent upon successful completion of a post-offer drug screening, physical capacity profile and physical. Position will remain posted until filled.
To apply, submit a letter of interest, your resume with salary history, 3 professional references and application. Applications may be downloaded at http://indianolaiowa.gov/jobs.aspx.
Job Type: Full-time
That headline is not likely to shock anyone who provides cable TV service.
Matt Polka, CEO of the American Cable Association and advocate for small cable operators across the nation, made those comments during the taping of an episode of "The Communicators" on CSPAN. As outlined in an article on Ars Technica, Polka's comments seem obvious to those involved in cable, but are probably not well understood by consumers.
"The cable business isn't what it used to be because of the high costs," Polka said, pointing to the amount cable TV companies pay programmers for sports, broadcast programming via retransmission consent fees, and other programming.
As a whole, the cable industry has done a poor job of communicating with customers about the financial strains they are experiencing. And when operators do complain about rising programming costs as the reason for rate increases, consumers see it as an excuse for "gouging" them. Indeed cable companies have been their own worst enemy by providing bad customer service and then expecting their customers to believe them.
However, small community-based providers generally have a much higher trust level with their customers. It makes sense for providers to talk to their customers in an honest and open way about why their cable bills are going up.
PC Magazine has come out with its annual ranking of the fastest ISP's in the nation. And once again, it's smaller providers that come out on top.
The magazine splits its rankings into large ISP's and all ISP's. When it comes to the big ISP's, an east coast-based provider called Hotwire that mostly serves MDU's. When it comes to that list, CenturyLink doesn't show up and Mediacom comes in 6th at 43.7 Mbps.
However, when ALL ISP's are included (and by all of course they don't mean all, just the ones they tested), the list looks different.
In May, two professors at the University of Pennsylvania released a research paper entitled “Municipal Fiber in the United States: An Empirical Assessment of Financial Performance”. In the paper, Professor Christopher Yoo and student Timothy Pfenninger essentially claim that municipal broadband networks are failures.
It's not the first time that supposed scholarly institutions or think tanks have bashed municipal broadband. So once again, Christopher Mitchell and the team at the Institute for Local Self Reliance sprang into action to debunk the paper and point out its many flaws. CLICK HERE to read the ILSR's great response.
The UPenn study received a lot of publicity over the past week, so it's a good idea for persons involved in municipal broadband to be aware of the paper and read through the ILSR response in case you get any questions from people in your community.
Akamai has released it's latest "State of the Internet" report, and it's a mixed bag of news for the good old USA.
On the bright side, the US has moved up the charts to #10 in terms of average connection speed. Denmark, we're coming after you!
However, the report notes that only 21% of Americans receive download speeds of 25 Mbps or better-the FCC's definition of broadband. Clearly there's a lot of work ahead in deployment of fast, reliable internet service across the nation.
The Iowa Heartland Chapter of the SCTE is hosting Cable-Tec Games on Thursday, June 8th at the Kirkwood Community College center in Hiawatha. The SCTE Cable-Tec games gives SCTE members and non-members an opportunity to demonstrate their field technical skills (and learn new ones!) in a fun environment. And best of all, registering for the Cable-Tec Games is FREE!
Please let your staff know about this free training opportunity! To register, CLICK HERE.
9:00am-10:30am Cable Games Primer
10:40am-12:00pm Cable Games Competition
1:00pm-3:30pm Competition and Awards
The Indianola Municipal Utilities Board of Trustees has approved construction bids for a project to complete the community's FTTP network.
The low construction bid for the feeder and distribution network (not including service drops) from Excel Utility Contractors of St. James, Missouri was accepted by the Board, subject to financing. Excel's bid of $3.75 million was less than the engineer's estimate of $4.97 million from NewCom Technologies. IMU's FTTP network will be 90% underground and 10% aerial.
Also accepted were materials bids from several vendors for a total amount of $1.28 million, which was also below the engineer's estimate of $1.42 million.
Construction of the network is expected to begin this summer, with the feeder and distribution network completion late this year. The IMU Board will consider a combination of taxable and tax-exempt bond issues to finance the project at their June meeting.
Mark Your Calendar!
Communities in Iowa that are in the planning or exploratory stages of a municipal broadband system are encouraged to attend a half-day workshop on Tuesday, September 19, 2017 at the IAMU Office and Training Complex in Ankeny. The workshop takes place the day before the IAMU Fall Broadband Meeting on September 20th.
Whether your community is just beginning to consider a community-owned broadband utility, or you are already well along in the process, this workshop will provide opportunities for networking with other Iowa telecom utilities to compare notes and discuss best practices.
Registration information will be sent later this summer so be watching Broadband Bytes and IAMU's Informer for more information!
Broadband Bytes News
Curated by Curtis Dean, SmartSource Consulting
The Broadband Bytes Blast is emailed to subscribers every Friday afternoon.