Comcast, Cisco to discuss customer service; cable could be killing itself

> This item is being passed along without comment, despite the temptation. Feel free to make your own, however. Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) will be hosting a live discussion on "the evolution of customer service." News release.

> Speaking of customer service, NewTeeVee has alertly linked the outflow of cable subscribers to the ever-increasing prices those subscribers are expected to pay for service in a recessed economy. Yes, it's the economy stupid! Story.

> Speaking of paying for things, the NCTA paid $3.93 million in the second quarter to lobby the federal government. A year ago it spent $3.51 million and in the first quarter it spent $3.92 million. Jill Luckett, who served as a legislative director for friend-of-cable Oregon Sen. Bob Packwood (remember him?) is among those registered to lobby for the NCTA. Story.

> No wonder those negotiations with Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC-WI) dragged on. The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) only spent $780,000 (the price of a good meal for five in a Washington restaurant) lobbying the feds in the second quarter. In the first quarter, the mousy folks were a bit more aggressive--to the tune of $1.26 million--and a year ago it was $1.25 million. Story.

> Here's a thought: You can apparently lead a consumer to a connected TV but you can't make him/her watch it. Story.

And finally... Things north of the border have a way of migrating south--like cold fronts in the winter--so U.S. service providers might feel a bit of an icy chill from the thought that cable's incumbent broadband service providers have been told to let smaller ISPs ride on their fiber optic networks. They can charge for the ride, but still ... Story.