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Old 2012-03-31, 04:08 PM   #31
Neild
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A couple of updates:

HDNET is still on the air, however they had just been getting it from Shaw and passing it along so they were caught unaware when Shaw dropped it. Their technical manager had received a technical communication about the change a couple of weeks ago but assumed it was a non-issue and that he could just start getting HDNET from Bell instead. He claims no one gave them any advance notice, so he feels the problem was unforeseen and unavoidable.

As for why Shaw and Bell can arbitrarily drop channels without Access Communications involvement he says they do not have any formal or written agreement either of their upstream providers Bell or Shaw.

I suggested that having written agreements with supplies could help prevent providers from suddenly dropping channels that Access is depending on and for which they have already charged their customers money in advance for.

Management's opinion is that their current informal verbal understanding with key providers is adequate. He says this is the first time they've ever had an issue with a provider. Therefore, he says going forward he is opposed to having any kind of formal vendor agreements.

Regarding the process for channel modifications, they do not use any formal plan, project manager, or schedule.

Their method is that if the technical manager hears about any new channels or changes, he informs the marketing manager, who will at some later point decide if she wants to look into changing or adding the channels. If so, she informs him of that, and he then begins looking into the cost and logistics. When he is done doing that, he gives her the information, and she, at her discretion, commences to start creating a business plan for the new channel. I'm not sure what happens after that, or how many such isolated processes must be completed before they finally decide to add a channel.

I pointed out that such a sequential process and lack of contingency planning are causing delays. I suggested that there would be benefits to working in parallel or doing things like starting to look into costs or logistics ahead of time.

The manager however was staunchly opposed to this idea and says he's being using the current method for a long time.

Neither of the managers have a common superior, and neither is kept informed of what the other is working on or is planning.

I suggested that coordination between the two managers could help shorten the timeline for adding channels, but again he was firmly opposed to any coordination or planning between the two departments.

Regarding the misleading communication that HDNET was a free channel: the source of that was that they have been *receiving* HDNET for free. They feel that mandatory purchase of the HD Starter pack constitutes that they were giving HDNET "at no extra charge" and that will be their new revised wording going forward. They said they have other similar "free" channels but they would need to do some research to find out which ones they are.

The technical manager said he had a meeting to attend but would get back to me later. He did not.

On Monday I was told the person responsible for adding and dropping channels would contact me. By Wednesday she still hadn't so I checked and confirmed she is aware and would be contacting me, however it's now Saturday and she still hasn't.

They are also backing off the earlier claim that their contract with CRTC is the source for the delays. They're now conceding that was a miscommunication as there is no "contract" with CRTC. However they did say that everything is now "in front of the CRTC".

They confirmed the 25% across-the-board loyal customer discount project is still ongoing, but do not know how far along it is or what date it will become active.
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Old 2012-03-31, 05:21 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IanR View Post
Neil, I don't know if you're even a customer of Access .. but assuming for a moment that you are .. if you don't like their service, pick something else.
IanR - Access Communications has a monopoly on cable service here.

Personally I would love to see a different arrangement where multiple companies could use the common coaxial infrastructure.

Customers could choose company A with a low price and bad service, or company B with better service but higher price. Company C could offer a blend.

But such an idea would take some time, and busting the current monopoly situation wouldn't be easy.

So in the meantime, I'm proposing simple, cost-effective solutions that would work today. I'm highlighting areas where there's dishonest communications and lack of accountability. I also believe that a cooperative can and should work better than this one currently does.

You are welcome to skip reading if you don't like it. But when myself and others drive out positive changes, you are also still welcome to enjoy the benefits.

If you find the facts I'm raising to be negative, there's also a thread on this board that I started for you to post and read what you love about Access Communications.

Your point is correct that things could be done better. But I'm not sure I agree that extra money is the answer though. You can read Access Communications financials and you can confirm for yourself they have a slate of well paid managers and a large group of assistants. All evidence I see is that the money and the well paid managers are not being effective, for various reasons.

When you have managers who are unaccountable and who reject planning and cooperation between departments, no amount of additional money will help. I am convinced that structural and cultural changes could drastically improve the service they are providing - and most of that can be done at the same if not lower cost.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IanR
but you're starting to sound either like a competitor .. or a confirmed hater.
Just my $0.02 worth of constructive feedback.
I won't stoop to imply you are a competitor or hater as I'll give you the respect of assuming your criticism is your own opinion. But with respect I will say that I don't see what is 'constructive' about saying I should give up or just accept the highly unlikely assumption that budget shortfalls make any improvement impossible. To me that's actually an un-constructive approach since giving up just guarantees nothing will be fixed or improved.
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Old 2012-03-31, 05:46 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by PhotoJim View Post
Poor communication, for sure. I'm guessing the channels weren't supposed to appear - and because the techs probably thought that few people would be searching for clear-QAM channels, no one would notice. Probably almost nobody did.
Well just because few people noticed is no reason to deny it or tell the person who asked they were wrong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhotoJim View Post
They're a small company with limited resources,
I think this is a myth or a crutch. Sure Access has shrunk during the years in which the management failings and inertia I've written about have taken a firm hold. But the business of receiving a signal down and reselling it thousands of times over at a huge profit margin to a large, growing, and prosperous captive monopoly market hardly makes Access a charity case. Skim their public financials and you'll see the truth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhotoJim
expecting them to handle it as well as Shaw or Rogers is asking for a lot.
I agree it's asking a lot for the current management with poor leadership and no accountability. But imagine if those obstacles were eliminated. A cooperative operating in a booming pocket of North America actually should have many advantages over a Shaw or Rogers. It's about running things smarter, more transparently and more honestly.

This HDNET Canada debacle is one great example. At the heart of the dispute is that large Canadian corporations are trying to launch a channel which would have competing content with what's on HDNET. Not surprisingly, they've battled HDNET to an impasse, using their giant monopoly to squeeze them off the dial in many markets. This will allow them to claim the content isn't available in Canada, and get approval for their own channel.

Access Communications has no such issues to be concerned about. They don't have to worry about the bigger picture of launching nation-wide channels or muscling out any form of perceived competition. By rights, they should just be concerned about giving their customers the channels they want.

So Access can (and should!) continue delivering HDNET because it's what the customers want and they don't have any ulterior motives to undermine HDNET. That's just one example out of many as to why Access Communications could provide a superior lineup to Bell, Shaw, and Rogers - if they had the right culture and structure in place.
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Old 2012-03-31, 06:04 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neild View Post
IanR - Access Communications has a monopoly on cable service here.
Still, that leaves four competitors:

1. Over-the-air plus video streaming services such as Netflix.
2. SaskTel Max.
3. Shaw satellite.
4. Bell satellite.

The average person does not concern himself with how something gets to him, only how well it gets to him.

I happen to prefer cable television to satellite and telephone-line-based services, but if Access dropped the ball enough, all of the other services become in play. As analog cable gradually disappears and with Access' preference not to provide any HD channels in clear QAM, the functional advantages of cable television lines over the alternatives become smaller and smaller, and indeed at a point disappear entirely. If you need a box to get channels, what does it matter if it's a Bell, Shaw, SaskTel or Access box?
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Old 2012-04-01, 10:35 AM   #35
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Default More HD Channels

Heard from two sources at Access recently that they are about to add in the next month or so up 10 or more HD channels, if this is true that will be great.
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Old 2012-04-02, 08:49 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhotoJim View Post
Still, that leaves four competitors:

1. Over-the-air plus video streaming services such as Netflix.
2. SaskTel Max.
3. Shaw satellite.
4. Bell satellite.

The average person does not concern himself with how something gets to him, only how well it gets to him.

If you need a box to get channels, what does it matter if it's a Bell, Shaw, SaskTel or Access box?
OTA isn't viable except major border cities like Detroit. SaskTel Max has tiny bandwidth (pending their long overdue fiber rollout), satellite is one way. High bandwidth coaxial is still uniquely capable and a monopoly. That's why it's such a shame to see the advantage squandered for no reason.
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Old 2012-07-06, 02:40 AM   #37
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Is Access going to be getting Cartoon Network? Are they ever going to offer speeds past 10MB down? Bind a couple downstream channels together and put 20MB at least! I'm pretty sure they are DOCSIS 3.0 modems... I hate going to visit my parents and their internet is so slow lol.
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Old 2012-07-09, 10:21 AM   #38
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I had emailed customer care on the Cartoon Network, they are looking into it. Access is suppose to be adding Axs TV(rebranded HDnet) no timeframe though. Notice Sasktel Max already has Axs TV back on their line up.

As for other additions on Access, would be nice to see FX Canada HD, NFL Network HD to name a couple. incouraged that they have added what they have added this spring and summer to their HD line-up.
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Old 2012-07-09, 11:51 PM   #39
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That seems to be their default answer to everything for the last 5 years! They are looking into everything! FX Canada HD, CN/CN HD, AXS, Discovery HD, etc, etc. I don't know what the heck is going on at Access lately but the company is sure going down hill fast!

I also live in Northern Alberta and have Eastlink on my TV there and I have 20mb down, capable of 100mb down and I'm outside of a major centre! The guide is still Prevue (which sucks bigtime!) but we have FX HD, etc, etc...

It's ridiculous!
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Old 2012-07-13, 11:43 AM   #40
Neild
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Back when they dropped HD-NET and falsely claimed it was a free service, they also claimed they were checking to see what HD channels customers want most so they can add those. Sounds great, right? We'd finally get channels like Discovery HD and FX.

Given their track record I wondered if this was yet another chunk of corporate doublespeak. I waited, knowing the chances were slim, but ever hopeful that I'd be wrong this time that someone might actually keep the promise and help the customers.

Time has now shown they didn't add any of the desirable channels which we've all been suggesting or demanding for the last few years. Instead they put a huge slate of channels which I'll diplomatically call 'not that popular'.

They do have a chance to prove their earlier claims about HD-NET being free weren't just lies... if and when they put HD-NET/AXS back on the air they can 'continue' to make it free.
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Old 2012-07-16, 09:40 AM   #41
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Slacktel never lost HDNET when Access cable did. They had it all along. When HDNET switched over to AXS, Slacktel began carrying AXS TV in its place. I emailed several managers and "big shots" at Access but never got a response. When they first removed HDNET they told me that their service provider was no longer carrying it. (Solution - get a different service provider). If Slacktel's service provider was still able to offer it then I wonder what exactly was going in. Normally when a tv service rebrands itself we do not loose the service. The old service continues until the new service takes its place, usually over night. This is what happened with Slacktel. I am no meens defending the phone company because I have seen their service and it sucks. But they are definetly trying alot harder to compete by offering services much quicker. Its pretty sad when new guy in the cable tv field offers better services than the original cable company!!!!
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Old 2012-07-25, 05:12 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by dogger View Post
Slacktel never lost HDNET when Access cable did. They had it all along. When HDNET switched over to AXS, Slacktel began carrying AXS TV in its place. I emailed several managers and "big shots" at Access but never got a response. When they first removed HDNET they told me that their service provider was no longer carrying it. (Solution - get a different service provider). If Slacktel's service provider was still able to offer it then I wonder what exactly was going on.
I'll stand to be corrected, but I think either through lack of knowledge or lack of effort, Access has simply become a low-level distributor for Shaw.

They appear to simply take hand-me-down channel selection and software from Shaw with no independent value being added.

So when Shaw dropped HDNET, it vanished for Access customers too.

You're correct that with a bit of initiative, an alternate provider could easily be arranged. That would help with many other aspects too. But it really doesn't seem like the current version of Access Communications is up for that kind of idea.
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Old 2012-09-17, 04:07 PM   #43
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How is it that Access seems to have more issues bringing in new HD channels than Sasktel (other than bandwidth)? Certain HD channels Sasktel have Access does not (NFL Network, FX Canada, Movietime, Turner Classic), do they work with different carriers for their channel lineups or the same?

For example HDnet this spring, Access seem to not even know it was being rembranded, and then they were scambling when it was pulled off the air (same time Shaw removed from Cable and Satellite). You look at Sasktel they never lost HDnet or now known as Axs.

Does Access work with Shaw as a provider (carrier) of channels aquistions soley, or how does it actually work?
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Old 2012-09-18, 01:30 AM   #44
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Access does use Shaw, Sasktel uses bell.
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Old 2012-09-20, 01:31 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noah12 View Post
Access does use Shaw, Sasktel uses bell.
Unless something has changed recently, Access gets channels from both Shaw and Bell. Most of the SD channels were provided through Shaw, most of the HD was from Bell. This is how it was a couple years ago anyway..

As far as Access not getting new channels as fast as Sasktel, that has to do with the guys upstairs making contracts with the networks/providers. Not sure if it's them dragging their feet making decisions or legitimate issues making decent contracts being a "small" cable provider though.
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