Annual Video Services Competition Report Shows More Customers Have More Choices in Michigan
February 1, 2011
The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) today issued its fourth annual report on the status of competition for video services in Michigan. The report is required by the Uniform Video Services Local Franchise Act (Public Act 480 of 2006).
"Video and cable competition continues to grow in Michigan, giving more customers more choices" noted MPSC Chairman Orjiakor Isiogu. "In addition, companies invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the Michigan video/cable market in 2010."
Highlights of the report include:
In 2010, one community reported having four providers; 29 communities reported having three providers; 81 communities reported having two providers, and 166 communities reported having one provider. Sixteen communities reported having no providers.
One new company - Waldron Communication Company - began offering video/cable services to Michigan residents in 2010.
During 2010, providers reported 2,306,338 video/cable customers in Michigan, a net decrease of 58,809 (2.5 percent) from the previous year. (This does not include subscribers to satellite services.) This was the first year that a reported overall decrease in the number of video/cable subscribers occurred since the Commission first began tracking and recording subscriber information.
There are currently 1,937 franchise agreements (both individual franchise agreements entered into before the Act that have not expired and Uniform
Video Service Local Franchise Agreements
required by the Act) in Michigan, a net increase of 308 compared to the previous year. Of the total, 1,145 are classified as the Uniform Video Service Local Franchise Agreement, an increase of 121 from the previous year.
The top three companies providing video/cable services in Michigan are Comcast, Charter Communications, and AT&T Michigan.
The Commission received 1,074 customer complaints and inquiries in the video franchise area in 2010, a 4.6 percent increase over 2009. The most frequent complaints for the most part remained the same as the previous year: billing, charges and credits; customer service; channel line-up; and equipment/service problems.
The Commission initiated, on its own motion, two formal complaints in 2010, directing both Pine River Cable and CableMax Communication to show cause why they should not be found in violation of PA 480. The Commission found both companies in violation of the Act and ordered penalties for both companies, as well as refunds to customers for services not provided. In addition, the Commission ordered both companies to cease and desist from providing any video services in Michigan, and it rescinded any existing franchise agreements to which either company was a party or beneficiary.
Providers reported investing over $400 million in the video/cable market in Michigan in 2010, an increase of $140 million over the previous year. Since the Act became effective on Jan. 1, 2007, providers report having invested over $1.5 billion in the Michigan video/cable market.
The MPSC made two recommendations to the legislature: changing the due date of the annual report to March 1 from February 1 to provide survey respondents more time to provide information to the MPSC; and requiring providers to provide certain contact information to the MPSC.
The entire report is available on the MPSC's website (click on the video/cable button): Michigan.gov/mpsc.
The MPSC is an agency within the Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth.