Cable One clarifies FICO Score usage with FCC, says it has its own system for determining customer value

Cable One has written the FCC to clarify remarks made by CEO Thomas Might regarding the use of FICO credit scores to qualify customers.

In Might's May 23 appearance at the J.P. Morgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference — which was reported on by FierceCable — the chief executive described how credit scoring is used in the overall equation of customer value.

"What we found is that through lifestyle and billing analysis, we could start to pinpoint where churn and bad debt was coming from," Might said to investors. "Credit scoring started to be a really good test."

However, writing to the FCC, company COO Julie Laulis said Might's remarks about the use of FICO scores were "conflated" with the company's own internal metrics for measuring consumer worth.

"Cable One runs a consumer credit pre-qualification, with the applicant's consent, solely during the new customer sign-up process," Laulis said. "The pre-qualification results are used to determine the size of the deposit and the installation charge, if any, that would be appropriate for the particular customer to offset the customer to offset the non-payment of bills or the non-return of equipment, as well as any introductory offers the customer may be eligible to receive."

Laulis said that once a customer is signed up, the MSO uses a "separate, internal program" called Lifetime Value (LTV) to determine what perks the subscriber gets.

"Importantly, the LTV program has nothing at all to do with the use of credit scores," Laulis added. "Any Cable One customer can, through a good payment history, achieve the highest LTV level and achieve additional levels of customer service and other benefits. This LTV level is independent of a credit score, and a credit score is not used to determine levels of service or loyalty rewards."

Might said during his J.P. Morgan appearance that Cable One had employed a "rigorous" FICO scoring process since 2013. He seemed to describe FICO scoring as foundational to the MSO's stratification approach towards its customers. Citing the FierceCable story, however, Laulis said the "press conflated the two programs."

Cable One did not request any corrections to the Fierce article. 

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