Coming on the heels of the Comcast/Time Warner Cable purchase news, TWC responded with, well, raising your rates… again.
I had just purchased my own modem about 7 months ago to rid of their “Modem Fee”, which, at the date of purchase of my own modem, started at $3.99 per month. Within 2 months on my bill they had raised it to $5.99 per month, which mind you, kept charging on my bill even after I turned in their modem. It took me 6 months and 6 different customer service reps later to finally get rid of that fee on my bill.
So I guess too many people were doing that and they needed to find yet another fee to add to your bill, one you can’t get rid of unless you just plain get rid of the service. Enter the “Broadcast TV fee.” This new fee is going to cost you $2.25 per month and is what is called a “below the line” fee, meaning, it won’t be in the advertised price of the service itself. Kinda like your cable company has an ad on television that tells you that you can get all of these great TV channels and services for only $29.99 a month! You think great! I will sign up and only pay $30 a month for TV! Then the bill hits you and it’s closer to $60 a month, if you’re lucky. Yes, your new service comes in at the introductory price, but what they failed to mention was the taxes, the regulatory fees, the new “Broadcast TV fee”, the set top box, the remote, the additional outlets in the house, etc. etc. These “below the line” fees allow them to falsely keep the advertised rates the same while still hiking up your bill. It also allows them to raise the rates on those people locked into price guarantees or under contract. Awesome huh?
Of course, the notes of these increases always come with their reason for them, which usually reads something about “value” and “new technology” etc., most of which is just a bunch of, let’s call it, hog wash. Time Warner Cable in particular is one of the slowest companies to upgrade to the newest technology, far behind the other cable industries. That of course doesn’t stop them from telling you it’s because of these upgrades. Keywords like “Faster Internet Technologies,” “More Value,” “Crystal Clear HD Channels” are always included in the spiel.
What Time Warner Cable is doing, (and other TV Providers like Comcast who introduced this new fee last Fall) for me at least, is pushing me closer to just not having Cable TV at all. I already have an antenna on one of my televisions which gives me “Crystal Clear HD Channels” on my network TV. I have already replaced their set top boxes with Tivo so recording is not an issue. I already have a Roku. Yes, I will miss some shows here and there, but really, I’m not sure it’s worth paying close to $100 a month for so much I never watch.
I kept it out of convenience. It’s more convenient for me to just know the show I want is there, rather than change my set-up and figure an alternate way to watch it. At this point though, it seems the fees out-weight the convenience and they just keep piling them on, digging as deep as they can in their consumers pockets for something that really, isn’t necessary to begin with. I would imagine that the more people quit completely, the more they will raise the fees in other areas of their service. I’m sure the internet is next. Actually, with the Net Neutrality fight still on, we know they are already hard at work to do just that. You want to go read something at YakkityYaks (or insert your favorite site here) and not on the Comcast Home Page? Then upgrade to the premium plan! Coming soon to an internet provider near you.
Thus far, in my area, there isn’t any real competition for Internet Providers. Fios and Fiber aren’t here yet where I live, so in order to comfortably stream shows from Netflix and others, I am stuck with them for now unfortunately. If it weren’t for that, I would have given them up completely a long time ago. The only thing to do at this point is sit, wait, and hope that someone, somewhere in the Government stands up for the consumer. I don’t have my hopes up. Until then though, I may just do away with their TV service all together, which I did with their phone service a couple of years ago. Thank you Ooma.