Letters to the editor

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Published: May 28,2001

Time Warner Cable addresses ‘misperceptions’

Editor:

Time Warner Cable was surprised by and disappointed in Nancy Anderson’s column in the May 14-20, 2001 issue of the Mississippi Business Journal regarding her experience with Road Runner, our high-speed online service. After reading this column, current and future customers may have misperceptions that we would like to address.

1. No ISP provider is without occasional mail problems. Time Warner admittedly had a problem with the mail servers for the entire southwest region in early March, but the problem was corrected, protections were put into place to minimize problems in the future, and I would guess that the columnist has not had problems since shortly after her installation. Our customers are satisfied, as reflected by our churn rate of less than 1%. And we are installing new customers at a record rate.

2. We talk with an average of 2,200 customers per day and answer 80%-90% of the calls within 30 seconds. We use an automated phone system and three selections would have connected this customer with a representative. The first asks you to select Road Runner or cable, the second asks if this is new service or a technical problem, and the third relates to the technical problem and takes you to a help desk representative. And we are here to help our customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

3. Any business that is Internet dependent should have a backup ISP. The columnist questions our faith in our product because we suggested to her friend that a business should have a backup ISP. Regardless of the primary provider, no service can promise to be 100% reliable. A backup ISP for a business is the same as a hospital having a generator for backup power. Our customer service representative provided sound advice and we will continue to make this recommendation.

Road Runner’s best benefit is that it is available to any resident or business served by Time Warner Cable with no distance requirements. The high-speed service is reliable and affordable for small businesses, giving them the advantages of Internet access speed used by the Fortune 500 for minimal cost.

We are very proud of our product and look forward to bringing the experience of broadband to many more residential and commercial customers in the metro Jackson area.

Frances P. Smith

Time Warner Cable

Jackson

‘Insights but not much illumination’

Editor:

Transportation Commissioner Wayne Brown’s letter in the April 30-May 6, 2001 issue of the Mississippi Business Journal provides interesting insights but not much illumination. It also fails to make a compelling argument for elected commissioners. His statements regarding recent shenanigans in “our sister states” is interesting yet I seem to recall a similar situation with the Mississippi commission not so long ago.

I believe that Mississippi must have a constitutional convention in the very near future if we are to have a chance of coming to grips with our antiquated and inefficient ways of doing business. We don’t need three commissioners in any department, elected or appointed any more than we need a bloated Legislature that is bigger even than California’s. We also need to provide a balance of power between the three branches of government.

This note is not necessarily intended to put forth my views, but rather to encourage the MBJ to look at the root of the problem we face in our state.

Mississippi, like other states, has changed an awful lot since 1890 and in my opinion the only beneficiaries of the status quo are career politicians and wannabes.

Ben White

Ocean Springs

‘No new taxes’

Editor:

I simply must respond to one of the comments made in an article in your April 23rd edition. In the report, “Architects, engineers say headway made during session,” which was, for the most part, well done, Elizabeth Fargason said that as a result of HB 1695, corporations that currently maintain a “company store” in Mississippi with income reported in other states will face additional taxes.”

That statement is not true.

Perhaps no single piece of legislation from the last session is as misunderstood as this one. There are no taxes in the bill. The bill was proposed by the State Tax Commission in response to several tax avoidance schemes being utilized by some multi-state corporations. In the particular case to which Ms. Fargason refers, these corporations have set up “shell” companies in other states for the sole purpose of moving income out of the State of Mississippi to a state with no income taxes. There is no legitimate business purpose for these arrangements.

The State Tax Commission already has the authority to assess the proper Mississippi income tax in such situations. Hb 1695 simply clarifies that authority and gives some objective criteria by which the State Tax Commission may make such a determination.

Let me say it again. There are no new taxes imposed by this bill. The new law is designed to insure that big multi-state companies cannot avoid paying taxes they owe under current law by constructing artificial multi-state arrangements. Contrary to Ms. Fargason’s statement, not every multi-state corporation will be affected, only those who are trying to hide their Mississippi income.

Naturally the corporations who are using such schemes don’t like the legislation, but the rest of us taxpayers should. We all pay our taxes, and so should they.

Rep. Cecil Brown

Mississippi House of Representatives, District 66

Jackson

The Mississippi Business Journal welcomes letters from its readers: Mail 5120 Galaxie Drive, Jackson, MS 39206-4308. Fax (601) 364-1006. E-mail mbj@msbusiness.com. Letters may be edited for length and/or clarity. Direct questions about editorial policy to Jim Laird at jlaird@msbusiness.com or (601) 364-1018.


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