The Impact of the COVID-19 on the Cable Companies
The coronavirus pandemic has completely transformed the world as we know it in just a few short months. People are forced to stay indoors with varying social isolation and stay-at-home guidelines all over the world. This has led to a massive impact on the economy, with millions of Americans applying for unemployment benefits in just a few weeks since the pandemic hit the US. Amid all of this, many people are wondering how cable and internet providers are faring the crisis. This blog explores exactly that.
Cable Companies and the COVID19 Crisis
Students, professionals, and even self-employed workers have no other choice but to remain home. Of course, most people stuck indoors are spending more time using the internet and TV for distraction. In fact, there are more people than ever relying on these two services. While cable and satellite TV popularity have never been higher, it poses a problem. Most of the high demand is coming from existing customers who enjoy the benefits of cable TV. But with the COVID19 pandemic, it is hard for cable companies to acquire new customers. Especially since technicians can’t visit to install your new service. This blog explores:
- A Look at Cable in COVID19
- No In-Home Technician Visits
- Unprecedented Internet Traffic
Let’s explore these in more detail below.
A Look at Cable in COVID-19
The good news is that cable TV has never been more popular than it is now. Since more folk are staying at home, we have more people than usual watching TV. While streaming services are also on the rise, the stay-at-home measures have caused a boom in cable and satellite viewership as well.
Most popular are TV news programs, which still remain primarily the domain of cable TV channels. In fact, the only real threat to conventional news programs is Facebook. A surprisingly large segment of the population gets the news from the social media platform. However, with all manner of fake news circulating on the internet, most people still prefer the certainty of conventional news broadcasts. Of course, popular movie channels have also seen an increase in viewership. This is good news.
No In-Home Technician Visits
This, however, is bad news for both cable providers and people waiting for a cable technician to install or fix their cable TV service. Depending on where you are in the United States, a technician visit inside your home can be dangerous and/or illegal. Social distancing is in effect and that means staying away from just about everyone, including cable technicians. The problem is that for most technical issues, the technician needs to come inside your home. Cable companies have taken some tough decisions in the face of this. Some like Verizon and Cox have decided that their technicians will not go beyond the subscriber’s front door.
Unprecedented Internet Traffic
Many large cable companies are also internet providers and they are servicing a larger volume of traffic than ever before. This is because an unprecedented number of people are working, studying, or getting their entertainment at home. But what does this mean for the infrastructure? Streaming services like Netflix have already begun to limit streaming-quality to help overloaded networks. However, the US seems to be safe from this for now. This is in part thanks to one of the largest and broadband infrastructures in the world.
Many providers have expressed complete confidence in their networks to handle the increased traffic volume. However, the fact of the matter is that it is too early to predict whether COVID-19 will disrupt broadband networks in the United States or not. For now, internet providers assure us that they can handle it, but nobody actually knows what the near future of broadband might look like.
Right now, America is suffering the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, with tens of thousands of deaths. Most of the impact has been on heavily populated city centers like New York City so far, which have a stronger internet infrastructure. However, if the disease spreads on, it may reach rural and less populated areas, that already have a weaker broadband and cable TV infrastructure.
At the same time, acquiring new customers is a challenge for cable providers right now. It would be a good idea to reach out to your provider’s customer service, to discuss what options are available to you if you have a problem or want a new subscription. Stay safe, and stay indoors.