Time Warner Cable to Add Yet ANOTHER Fee

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.TWC

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.

Flashback Friday? Time Warner Cable vs. CBS

Update (Aug 4, 2013): CBS has released a new official statement regarding negotiations with TWC

There are no negotiations taking place at this time between CBS and Time Warner Cable. Before the
deadline on Friday we asked TWC to continue the negotiation while our programming was still on the air
in consideration for our viewers. They rejected this request and told us that they’d have more leverage
against us if they took us off their service. This is hardly a sign that they care about their customers as
they claim. We remain ready to negotiate in good faith when they are.

As many Time Warner Cable customers already know, especially those who watch Big Brother and for the past few episodes, have seen the scroll at the bottom that you might lose your CBS channel, TWC and CBS are currently in the struggle of re-negotiation of their fees. Specifically, CBS is asking for a new contract with higher re-transmission fees for Time Warner Cable to broadcast their content.

Why a “Flashback Friday”? Because how many times have we seen this happen? Eventually it does resolve itself, the loser ALWAYS the TV Subscriber no matter which side gets their way really. Higher fees always means higher fees for YOU, not for the cable company. No negotiation means we lose our channels and somehow, still get a higher cable bill? (That one I haven’t quite figured out yet.)

Now, I’m not going to take sides between CBS/Time Warner Cable. Really, you can insert anyone in that equation. FOX/Comcast. Viacom/Dish. You get the picture. It’s constant and the only losers are us. We lose in price or we lose our favorite channel. It sucks quite frankly.

Now I used to, in another life, work for the cable company. Yes, I took your calls that the broadcaster told you to make to “tell us to keep” their channel, or of course the calls the Cable Company told you to make to “Not give in to their demands!” I remember specifically the fight between Fox and Time Warner Cable. We had to be staffed on New Years Eve of all things to take those calls. Why? Because the contract was going to run out at midnight. You have NO IDEA how much fun it is to answer the phone right before Midnight on New Years Eve to someone yelling at you (as if you are in on the negotiations) to keep their Fox on the air. Really, it’s kind of a joke. Do these callers really think we have any say? Do they not understand that whatever the cable company bends to on price just gets passed on to the consumer? Sigh.

It’s okay to make the call and let them know you prefer to keep/discard the network, but PLEASE realize the person you are talking to has no control over it and be human… And please, please, please find something else to do on New Years Eve.

But I digress… back to the reason I am writing this.

Another thing those callers don’t realize… In all the uproar over CBS maybe pulling their channel, or Fox, or NBC, or ABC etc. etc. Those channels are FREE OVER THE AIR CHANNELS. Yes, you do NOT need Cable, Dish, DirecTv, FIOS, etc. to see these. You just need a trusty antenna that you can purchase, or better yet, make your own for REALLY cheap! You may also need a converter box ONLY if your TV is older. And by older, I mean grandma’s TV… Ok, maybe mom’s TV or that weird retro Uncle you have that lives in a friends basement. Basically, if you have a digital ready Television, you can get those channels free. If you purchased your Television after 2004, more than likely it’s digital ready. If you purchased your TV after 2007, then it HAS to be digital ready by law, so no box needed.

ku-xlargeAnyway, I thought I would pass this info on about the ALMOST FREE antenna that you can make yourself. You know, DIY. Even if you have cable, satellite, fios or what not, it’s actually kind of a nice thing to have anyway. There are SO MANY over the air digital channels that you aren’t getting with these companies, and why shouldn’t you? They’re FREE. If you have a Tivo, you can even record from them. Many are in a really crisp HD too. So whether you are a cord cutter or a full fledged subscriber, why not give this a shot? Did I say free? (Well, almost free anyway. At least it’s without the monthly cost.)

Now some say that this DIY antenna is actually better than some of the more costly purchased ones. I will leave that up to you. Also note, I can’t take credit for this… this is someone else’s love child, I’m just sharing the wealth. This one was adopted from someone else (who she credits) by Holly Mann (and made pretty with paint to make it wall hang-able, if that’s such a word) and is reported to work really well. To view the instructions on how to make this, go HERE.

While you’re at it, you can also check out what channels should come in for you OTA (Over the Air) by your Zip Code HERE. (Keep in mind that many of these channels have more than one channel included. Meaning you may see one channel as “4-1” but there may also be a “4-2” and “4-3”. The last time I checked in my area there were at least 8 different PBS channels each broadcasting something different.

So good luck! If you decide to make one of these nifty things (which I will do soon too and will update with how it goes) let us know below in the comments how it turned out! Did it work? Did it fizzle out? Did you do something different that made it better? Keep us updated!

Oh and, of course, join us in the FORUM one of these days. You will be glad you did!