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Strategy and Spectrum

Strategy and Spectrum

Charter Communications, better known as Spectrum, is doing well. They have a strategy in place for growth, even if there are a few major obstacles.

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Charter Communications, better known as Spectrum, is doing well, all things considered.

True, the State of New York is waffling on whether to allow the merger between Charter Communications and Time Warner to stand. And they’re also working to oust the cable provider from the state itself.

This comes after the state’s Public Service Commission declared that Charter was moving too slowly in fulfilling its promises.

As a result, they slapped the ISP (internet service provider) with a hefty fine and declared they had thirty days to move out of the state. While this may seem extreme, Charter is still in New York as the wheels of politics are slow at best. On August 21st, 2018, it was declared they had a two-week extension. No new news has surfaced after that.

As the dispute drags out, frustrating Spectrum customers, the company itself, and still raising questions over the Time Warner-Charter Communications merger, we can look to an odd source for guidance in this situation.

The game of Risk.

World Domination in Two Dimensions

Risk is a classic board game that allows players to attempt to take over the world. The first edition of the game was your basic map of the world. Most of the countries and nations were simplified into general territories. Each continent was turned into its own entity and there were set paths for entrance.

The goal was simple- control as much of the board as possible. Take out your “friends,” and make sure your armies were everywhere.

Risk has taken on many different versions over the years.

Variations

The ones that I’m most fond of are the Lord of the Rings, Halo, and Legacy editions. These take the basic concept of Risk and apply it to a new map with a few exclusive perks.

For example; Risk: Legacy had some of the oddest armies involved, such as the Enclave of the Bear. This army of genetically altered humans looked the Doth Raki from Game of Thrones. But they came with a unique bonus. More than that, bonuses could be added during each game.

Every time you played Risk: Legacy, the board changed. It would remain that way for the next game and change some more.

One principle remained in all versions of the game- dice rolling.

For each attack, the attacking player got up to three dice. This is where it got tricky for me- if I had more than three armies, I got three die. Two armies= two dice, and one army= one die. In the heat of trying to take a country, I usually forgot this and just kept throwing dice.

The defender, if that person had two armies, got two dice. And, of course, one die= one army.

Both sides would roll.

Your highest dice roll would be matched up the highest dice roll of your opponent. The second-highest to their second highest.

If you had higher dice rolls than theirs, then you won that attack. They’d lose two armies and you’d roll again until you either decimated them, or you were decimated.

It was a little confusing for me at first, and to be honest, it still is. I need constant reminders when I play.

Anyway, you may have a ton of armies, but a few bad dice rolls may derail any visions of swift and decisive victory.

I can recall the ONE time that I won at Risk.

My ONE Victory

It was 2010 and I was still looking for a steady job. My best friend still had the Lord of the Rings Risk that he had “borrowed” from another friend back in college.

About four of us came to his apartment on a Saturday and instead of just watching TV all day, we decided to play Risk.

Up to that point, I had lost every time I played. Most of the time it was a solid and humiliating defeat. But being the good sport that I am, I decided I would play yet again. After all, I was among friends and they so enjoyed the feeling of success when they soundly pummeled me in a game that had no real-life application.

But I read more books than them, so I’m the real winner here.

Anyway, the game got started as it usually did and I worked my normal strategy- expand as fast as possible. In hindsight, this is a severely flawed strategy. No matter how much space you occupy on the board, you leave yourself open to attack from multiple fronts. Then again, if you fortify and make them come to you, you don’t expand and score more territories. You just spend the game sitting in a corner and waiting for someone to come to play with you.

In this specific instance, I had the dice rolls on my side. I won a few early victories. These victories lead to control of key regions. And with these regions, I got the extra armies I always so desperately needed.

With the extra armies, I was able to ride out a few losses and keep expanding.

Soon the board was controlled by a vastly more intelligent and benevolent ruler.

Me.

This day has been marked in history so that none of my friends forget it. I also make sure to remind my wife regularly as well.

Now, if only I could take what I’d learned in this game and apply it to real-life somehow?

Risk and Spectrum

Okay, so let’s apply this analogy to Spectrum.

They’re working to expand their footprint everywhere in the nation. They’re not some army bent on controlling the world. No, instead they’re working hard to connect as many people as possible.

To do this they need to move into new territories and establish roots.

So, in a sense, they do act like the little figurines in a game of Risk.

As they work to move into a new space, they’re essentially rolling die to see how smoothly the process goes. The defender die could be anything from bureaucratic red tape to rival companies trying to force them out.

In the case of New York State, they didn’t have the dice rolls on their side.

Now they’re having to retreat.

Risk and the Bigger Picture

I admit this is a simplistic way of looking at the current state of ISPs, especially Spectrum.

It does make it easier for me to figure out what’s going on though.

Anyway, Spectrum is working to resolve the issue with New York State, as well as ensure that the merger with Time Warner stands. With those two obstacles holding them up, Spectrum is going to have trouble implementing other initiatives that could help more and more customers.

That’s kind of ironic when you think about it.

It’s also frustrating when you realize that Spectrum is one of the better ISPs out there.

By the Numbers

Spectrum is one of the faster providers out there.

This is proven thanks to the Netflix ISP speed index.

Netflix regularly monitors the various ISPs they partner with. During peak viewing hours, that is, the hours between 5 pm and 10 pm, Netflix is monitoring how fast ISPs can stream their content.

From August 2017 to August 2018, Spectrum averaged 3.95 Mbps.

That’s a good number.

Even better is that, despite having issues in New York, Spectrum is available in 48 states, and 9,179 zip codes across the nation. This puts them in the second spot for largest ISP in the nation.

Spectrum, like many other ISPs, offers internet through cable and fiber. They also have voice and cable TV services as well.

So make sure to check out Spectrum internet and cable deals. Not only are they a fast and reliable ISP, but they can also bundle a lot of services for you. This will, in turn, save you money and time.

Winning the Game of Risk

While Spectrum works to resolve the issue with New York, that still leaves about 47 states that they can still help. Which is good news for most of the country.

If you’re in New York though, sorry.

They might get it cleared up soon enough and you can see if they provide internet to your home.

In the meantime, pull out your Risk board game and get playing.

If you don’t have one, then you need to get to your nearest retailer and get one. I’m not saying this because I get a cut of the profits. Instead, I’m advising you to play a game that’s a lot of fun and just once, just once, you might get the chance to rule the world.



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