Charter Communications: Wikis

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Charter Communications, Inc.
Type Public
OTCBB: CCMM
Founded 1993
Headquarters United States Town and Country, MO, USA
Key people Paul Allen (Chairman)
Neil Smit (President and CEO)
Gregory Doody (Chief Restructuring Officer
and General Counsel)

Marwan Fawaz (EVP and CTO)
Michael J. Lovett (EVP and COO)
Ted Schremp (EVP and CMO)
Industry Telecommunications
Products Cable Television
HDTV
Digital Telephone
Broadband
Revenue US$ 6.002 billion (2007)[1]
Operating income US$ 548 million (2007)[1]
Net income US$ -1.616 billion (2007)[1]
Total assets US$ 14.666 billion (2007)[1]
Total equity US$ -7.892 billion (2007)[1]
Employees 16,500 (2007)[1]
Website www.charter.com

Charter Communications is an American company providing cable television, high-speed Internet, and telephone services to more than 5.7 million customers in 29 states. It is the fourth-largest (by revenues) cable operator in the U.S., behind Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Cox Communications.[2] It is headquartered in Town and Country, Missouri.[3][4][5][6]

Contents

History

Charter Communications incorporated in Delaware in 1993. Through a series of acquisitions as well as internally financed growth, the company served 1 million customers in 1998, 3.9 million in 1999, and 6.8 million in 2002.

Four former executives received criminal indictments in 2005 for accounting fraud related primarily to the inflation of cable subscriber numbers. The company has been under financial pressure; its stock peaked at $27.75 per share in November 1999, before falling to under $1 in 2002.[7]

In 2006, Charter accelerated sales of cable telephone services using Broadband Telephony technology.[citation needed]

Charter suggests a battery backup to reduce the risk of being without phone service in the event main power is lost.[8]

On March 28, 2009, Charter Communications filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

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Outsourcing

On May 2, 2006, Charter announced it will shut down seven of its call centers in the U.S.. The call centers closing are in the following locations:

As centers close, an increasing number of calls are being outsourced. Current outsource centers are located in Cainta, Philippines; Panama City, Panama; Mexico City, Mexico; Laredo, Texas; Moundsville, West Virginia; London, Ontario; Trenton, Ontario; Winnipeg, Manitoba; and Brasília, Brazil.

Charter-owned call centers are located in St. Louis, Missouri (telephone service support center), Greenville, South Carolina, Vancouver, Washington, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Walker, Michigan, Rochester, Minnesota, Worcester, Massachusetts and Louisville, Kentucky (the largest call center enterprise-wide) with Heathrow, Florida handling the bulk of video, high-speed data, and telephone billing and customer service contacts. Each of the remaining centers are becoming increasingly specialized for particular lines of service or customer issues. In contrast, in the fourth quarter of 2007, Louisville call-center employees, who had been handling callers with Internet issues, were told to prepare for cross-training in telephone and video support.[citation needed]

Selloff of properties

On March 22, 2006, Charter announced that it will sell cable systems serving approximately 43,000 customers in Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah to Orange Broadband Holding Company (since renamed Baja Broadband).[9]

Charter will also sell cable systems in West Virginia and Virginia to Cebridge Connections (now known as Suddenlink Communications) and cable systems in Kentucky and Illinois to New Wave Communications.[10]

Wave Broadband recently took over much of Charter's customer bases on the west coast (except for markets also served by Comcast and Time Warner Cable and a few select rural areas).[citation needed]

On October 14, 2008, an article appeared in the Fairmont, Minnesota Sentinel (Fairmont Sentinel), reporting that Charter is selling parts of their system to Midcontinent Communications, including its Bemidji, Minnesota and International Falls, Minnesota offices. Starting February 1, 2009 Midcontinent Communications took over some Charter's cable system in Minnesota including Balaton, Bemidji, Canby, Ely, Fairmont, International Falls, Littlefork, Sherburn, and surrounding communities. Other areas in Minnesota would have sold to Comcast, but the deal fell through.[11]

Bankruptcy

On February 12, 2009, Charter Communications announced that it planned to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on or before April 1, 2009. The action would allow Charter to pay its debt obligations, and cancel its obligations to shareholders.[12] Private equity firm Apollo Management expects to own most of Charter's shares after the bankruptcy.[13] Charter filed for a prearranged Chapter 11 on March 28, 2009. The company expects the financial restructuring to reduce its debt by $8 billion, as well as adding $3 billion of new investment, and refinancing other debt. On November 30, 2009, its bankruptcy plan was approved, which extinguished its stock and cut approximately $8 billion in debt.[14] That day, Charter emerged from bankruptcy despite many of its creditors' objections over its bankruptcy plan.[15]

Awards and recognition

In December 2007, Charter was recognized by CableWorld Magazine as "2007 Multi-System Operator of the Year." According to the magazine, the company was selected for this award based on "rapidly expanding its telephone footprint to take advantage of the triple-play offering; developing a consistent, data-driven marketing plan; and addressing its nearest-term debt maturities."[16] During the spring of 2008, Charter was honored with third place among companies with over 2,000 employees in the annual "Best Places to Work in St. Louis" competition, sponsored by the St. Louis Business Journal., based on the response of Charter employees in the area to an online survey created and managed by the Journal.[17]

Criticism

Charter has been criticized for poor customer support and frequent billing consistency issues, causing the Better Business Bureau to post[18] a warning to consumers about the company[19]

"The Better Business Bureau has received numerous complaints regarding this cable, digital TV, and high speed internet access provider. Complainants primarily allege that the firm had improper billing practices, referred customer bills to collection agencies in error, provided poor customer service, used misleading advertising, provided defective internet or cable performance, used improper sales tactics or misrepresented the actual costs of installation and service, failed to properly install or maintain service, damaged customers' property, and failed to honor service appointments. "

Making matters worse, PCWorld also ranked Charter's cable Internet service as worst among 14 major Internet service providers.[20] In addition, Charter High-Speed is the second-worst-rated cable ISP on dslreports.com,[21] and Consumer Reports indicated in their February 2008 issue that Charter's television/Internet/telephone bundle collectively is the worst of all major national carriers.[22][23]

It was reported by Tony Bradle on about.com that Charter Communications redirected error pages and Windows Live Search results to a Charter search page without notifying customers. Users may opt out of redirection by clicking a link from the Charter search page; however, the opt-out link installs a cookie on the customer's computer, so deleting cookies will require the user to opt out again.[24]

It has been reported that on Monday, January 21, 2008 during a routine sweep of inactive accounts, Charter accidentally deleted the email accounts of approximately 14,000 customers; even worse, the removed data is now irretrievable. Initial report [25] stated that the company would not compensate users in any way but the company has since decided[26] to give a $50 account credit to each user affected.

In May 2008, Charter announced that it planned to monitor websites visited by its high-speed Internet customers via a partnership with targeted advertising firm NebuAd.[27][28] But after customers voiced their concerns, Charter changed its mind in June.[29]

Coverage

The cable network's inability to strike deals with major sports networks such as the NFL Network have led customers to seek other options if they wish to watch sports programming from the majority of established channels.

Charter now has an agreement to carry the Big Ten Network, applicable to all customers.[30]

In St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana as of May 4, 2008, Charter and Cox Communications have been unable to reach a deal for the carriage of Cox Sports Television, effectively shutting out a large potential fanbase for the New Orleans Hornets from watching the games on local television.[citation needed]

In December 2008, WFAA-TV, the ABC affiliate in Dallas/Fort Worth, reported that beginning January 1, 2009, Charter would no longer carry its signal due to a breakdown in negotiations. Charter quickly replied that a resolution to the issue was not out of the question.[31] In December 2008, WCNC-TV, the NBC affiliate in Charlotte NC, reported that as of December 31, 2008 Charter would no longer carry its signal due to a breakdown in negotiations.[32] In December 2008, KMOV-TV Channel 4, the CBS affiliate in Saint Louis, MO, reported that it would no longer be available to Charter subscribers starting December 31.[33] Prior to that, only the standard definition signal for KMOV was available on Charter cable.

The cable operator would have lost access to all of the stations owned by Belo Corp, however, an agreement was reached days before the shutdown date.[34]

In May 2009 Comcast was able to meet an agreement with NFL Network, in which the NFL Network agreed to lower their asking price per subscriber. The higher asking price has been a problem with being carried with other cable networks. Roger Goodell is looking at resolving differences with other cable providers, to include Charter Communications, to allow carriage of this channel.[35]

In April 2009, certain Angels games on Fox Sports West were not available: May 4-8, 12-13,18-19, 25, 27 and 29; June 15-16 and 22-24; and July 6-8 and 10.[36]

Timeline

  • 1993 – The company was started by three executives; Barry Babcock, Jerald Kent, and Howard Wood, former executives of Cencom Cable Television in St. Louis, MO.
  • 1995 – Charter paid about $300 million for a controlling interest in Crown Media.
  • 1997 – EarthLink and Charter join forces to deliver high-speed Internet access through cable modems to Charter's customers in California.
  • 1998 – Paul Allen buys a controlling interest.
  • 1998 – Charter paid $2.8 billion to acquire Dallas based cable company Marcus Cable.
  • 1999 – Company goes public, trading on the NASDAQ stock exchange.
  • 2000 – Charter buys select AT&T cable markets, including Reno, NV and the City of St. Louis.
  • 2001 – MSN and Charter sign an agreement to offer MSN content and services to Charter’s broadband customers.
  • 2001 – Recipient of many awards including the Outstanding Corporate Growth Award from the Association for Corporate Growth, the R.E. "Ted" Turner Innovator of the Year Award from the Southern Cable Telecommunications Association, and the Fast 50 Award for Growth from the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association.
  • 2002 – The DOJ investigates the company, leading to the indictment of four former executives for improper financial reporting.
  • 2004 – Charter settles a class action lawsuit concerning the questionable financial reporting.
  • 2008 – Charter acquires the Cable TV franchise and service for the Cerritos and Ventura, CA area from WAVE Broadband.
  • 2008 – Charter stock fails to meet NASDAQ standards and is given warning to comply by Oct 13 or fill out an extension.[37]
  • 2009 – Charter files to reorganize under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code.

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f "2007 Annual Report". http://library.corporate-ir.net/library/11/112/112298/items/284329/Final_Charter_Annual_Report_2007.pdf. Retrieved 2009-02-14. , library.corporate-ir.net
  2. ^ NCTA Top 25 MSO's, ncta.com
  3. ^ Corporate Contact Us, charter.com. Charter Communications. Retrieved on August 18, 2009.
  4. ^ Zoning Map, town-and-country.org. City of Town and Country. Retrieved on August 18, 2009.
  5. ^ Town and Country city, factfinder.census.gov. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on August 18, 2009.
  6. ^ Town and County, Mo.-Based Charter Communications to Buy Back Employee Stock., accessmylibrary.com St. Louis Post-Dispatch. January 21, 2004. Retrieved on August 18, 2009.
  7. ^ Charter Communications executives sentenced in accounting schemes - 04/23/05, detnews.com
  8. ^ Charter Communications -Telephone Service through High Speed Internet - Digital Phone: Charter, charter.com
  9. ^ Charter Communications (2006-03-22). "Charter Communications Announces Agreement to Sell Systems Serving Approximately 43,700 Customers; Subsidiaries of Orange Broadband Holding Company, LLC to Purchase Charter Assets". Press release. http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=112298&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=834461&highlight=. Retrieved 2008-05-25. 
  10. ^ Saint Louis - Business and Technology News
  11. ^ Midcontinent Communications, midcocomm.com
  12. ^ Bloomberg.com
  13. ^ Reuters, 19 March 2009, Apollo plans to own most of Charter after bankruptcy: sources
  14. ^ Charter Communications (2009-11-30). "Charter Communications Completes Financial Restructuring and Emerges From Chapter 11". Press release. http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=112298&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1359904&highlight=. Retrieved 2009-12-01. , corporate-ir.net
  15. ^ Bode, Karl (2009-11-30). "Charter Exits Chapter 11". BroadbandReports.com. http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Charter-Exits-Chapter-11-105703. Retrieved 2009-12-01. , dslreports.com
  16. ^ 2007 MSO of the Year: Charter—Back From the Brink: Cable Fax Magazine, cable360.net
  17. ^ 19 St. Louis companies named "Best Places to Work" - St. Louis Business Journal, bizjournals.com
  18. ^ BBB.org
  19. ^ Charter Criticized by Better Business Bureau, isp-planet.com
  20. ^ The Best and Worst ISPs, pcworld.com
  21. ^ DSLreports.com
  22. ^ Former Charter Channel Line up on the Midco Website, midcocomm.com
  23. ^ Channel Line up on the Midco cable system in east central North Dakota, midcocomm.com
  24. ^ Netsecurity.about.com
  25. ^ MSN.com
  26. ^ Bizjournals.com
  27. ^ New York Times, nytimes.com
  28. ^ The Inquirer, theinquirer.net
  29. ^ The Associated Press (June 25, 2008). "Charter Won’t Track Customers’ Web Use". via The New York Times Company. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/25/technology/25charter.html. Retrieved 2008-06-29. , nytimes.com
  30. ^ StarTribune.com
  31. ^ Star Telegram, star-telegram.com
  32. ^ WCNC-TV, wcnc.com
  33. ^ Louis Today, stltoday.com
  34. ^ Multichannel.com
  35. ^ Espn.go.com
  36. ^ Press Enterprise, pe.com
  37. ^ American City Business Journals, Inc., bizjournals.com

External links

Source by Viral shah - Research Analyst


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