Comcast joined competitor AT&T in handing out bonuses -- and pink slips -- in the pre-Christmas, post-tax-bill season of goodwill. No doubt other operators will follow suit.
The MSO terminated more than 500 sales representatives, folks who sold broadband and TV services door-to-door at residences and multi-dwelling units, along with their managers and supervisors,
The mid-December timing, sadly, is not unusual in the corporate world. But Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) required laid-off personnel to sign nondisclosure agreements in order to receive severance packages, according to the report. Those benefits include several months of healthcare coverage and pay, Comcast spokeswoman Jennifer Moyer told Philly.com. Through a spokesman, Comcast declined to comment further to Broadband World News for this story.
Instead of using door-to-door salespeople in its Central region (which includes the Midwest and Southeast), Comcast plans to now use its direct sales force to cover bigger neighborhoods. However, it currently has not reorganized its direct sales force in its two other major divisions. Terminated Comcast sales reps can apply for jobs elsewhere in Comcast, Moyer said.
"The Central Division is creating a new territory-based sales model that will connect more closely with residential prospects and customers in their communities," Moyer told Philly.com. "By giving highly trained sales professionals direct responsibility for entire neighborhoods, we can provide a better experience for those who are interested in our services, during and after the sale."
Like AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), which generated a surge of gushing headlines at the time, Comcast pledged $1,000 bonuses to full-time employees after President Donald Trump's corporate-friendly tax cut was passed. The fired employees are eligible for a "$1,000 supplemental severance payment," Comcast told Philly.com.
On average, Comcast direct sales reps earned between $50,000 and $100,000 in a combination of salary and commission, one terminated employee told the website. That income can require knocking on between ten to 70 doors per day, he said.
Look for the union lawsuit
For its part, competitor AT&T reportedly laid off at least 2,000 employees across multiple divisions at the end of 2017. About 700 DirecTV technicians were fired in the New York area, reported the New York Post, while another 600 AT&T workers were let go in the Midwest, according to the Chicago Tribune. Simultaneously, 700 Southwestern employees were terminated, DSLReports wrote.
After claiming Title II and tax rates suppressed investment, AT&T and others got their way when the Federal Communications Commission reversed the designation, eliminating net neutrality laws. That paved the way for AT&T to live up to a November promise to invest an additional $1 billion in something unspecified. (See So Long, Net Neutrality)
Like many enterprises, AT&T heavily invests in automation, software-defined networks, machine learning, artificial intelligence and other technologies that remove the human touch -- in part to reduce errors, in part to cut costs. The fruits of those investments are starting to sprout, allowing the telco to reduce headcount in certain departments and rearrange personnel. (See 2018: Broadband Investments Pay Dividends)
Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), as Light Reading's Iain Morris writes, talks of "brutal automation," anticipating a time when it runs networks "with no human intervention." (Read his excellent article, Automation Advocates in Downsizing Denial for the big picture.)
DT is being transparent. That, after all, is the goal every cableco and telco is pursuing. Some are just more open than others.
In a flurry of activity throughout the week, Donald (DJ) LaVoy, Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development at the US Department of Agriculture, and his team spent about $145.8 million in the non-urban or suburban areas of seven states.
Calix reported revenue of $120.19 million – up 4% – in Q4 2019, putting a bounce in the step of company president and CEO Carl Russo and a shine to Calix's ongoing transition from hardware vendor to a provider of platforms enabled by cloud, APIs and subscriber experience.
Looking to curtail e-waste and improve the bottom line, BT will require customers to return routers and set-top boxes, although subscribers will not have to pay a fee when they receive regular broadband equipment.
Deploying DOCSIS 3.1 across its entire footprint gave Rogers Communications the ability to offer speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s,
contributing to a broadband segement that generated about 60% of the Canadian operator's $3.05 billion (US) in Q4 cable earnings.
It wasn't long ago that TV was ranked by subscribers as the most important service in the bundle provided by their communications service provider (CSP). Recent research indicates that for nearly three quarters of subscribers, broadband is now the most important service. Broadcast TV is the most important service to only 15% of North American consumers, replaced by OTT video streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+. In addition, many different competitors are moving aggressively to stake a claim in consumers' homes.
In 2020, CSPs need to fight back by transforming their business models, which are becoming more reliant on a single source of revenue: fixed broadband services.
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Being the first to market with WiFi 6 technology, in response to consumer purchases of new devices over the holidays;
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In this insightful Light Reading radio show, Kurt Raaflaub, Head of Strategic Solutions Marketing, will outline the key service provider challenges, deployment considerations, next-gen Gigabit technologies, and service models to win market share in the rapidly growing MDU market.