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How I Cut My Time Warner Cable Bill By 33%

timothy posted about 10 months ago | from the now-how-much-would-you-pay? dept.

Networking 206

lpress writes "I was at a Time Warner Cable (TWC) store returning a router, when I asked what my new monthly bill would be. The answer — $110 — surprised me, so I asked a few questions and ended up with the same service for $76.37. Check out my conversation with their representative to see what was said, then do the same yourself."

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I cut my cable bill by 100% (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46373413)

...by getting rid of cable TV

Re:I cut my cable bill by 100% (3, Informative)

lpress (707742) | about 10 months ago | (#46373441)

Read the post -- I'd dropped Cable TV long ago -- this was Internet and telephone only.

Re:I cut my cable bill by 100% (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46373485)

Go fuck yourself, Karma Whoring bitch.

Re:I cut my cable bill by 100% (3, Informative)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 10 months ago | (#46373587)

Nope, you still get cable TV. At least the several places I've had TWC Internet in NY, I also got free(ish) basic cable. It's only ten or twelve channels, but it includes the major networks and the local news.

Re:I cut my cable bill by 100% (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46374413)

Nope, you still get cable TV.

Not for long. The cablecos have convinced the FCC to let them encrypt basic cable [usatoday.com] under the absolutely insane premise that it will be better for customers if they have to lease a cable box in order to watch even over-the-air channels.

Re:I cut my cable bill by 100% (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46374449)

it includes the major networks

Yeah that's what I want—the shittiest channels in the line-up.

Re:I cut my cable bill by 100% (1)

lpress (707742) | about 10 months ago | (#46374593)

Nope, you still get cable TV. At least the several places I've had TWC Internet in NY, I also got free(ish) basic cable. It's only ten or twelve channels, but it includes the major networks and the local news.

Right -- same in Los Angeles -- a bunch of local channels -- many foreign language. I even got a $5 gift card from TWC because they mistakenly (?) blocked the Super Bowl (which I watched anyhow using a rabbit ear antenna).

Re:I cut my cable bill by 100% (2)

drkim (1559875) | about 10 months ago | (#46373801)

Read the post -- I'd dropped Cable TV long ago -- this was Internet and telephone only.

Why didn't this guy cut his telephone service too?

He could bought an ObiHai for $40 bucks and never paid for phone again.

The ObiHai connects to your router and you can plug your regular POTS phone into it.
No fees like Ooma $3.50/mo, or MagicJack $29.99/yr, or Vonage $12-$55/mo.

The only downside is no direct 911.

ObiHai info: http://www.obihai.com/how-to-g... [obihai.com]

Slightly out-of-date chart: http://blog.tmcnet.com/blog/to... [tmcnet.com]

Re:I cut my cable bill by 100% (0)

icebike (68054) | about 10 months ago | (#46373863)

Or use your google voice number for zero dollars per month.
Magic Jack and Vonage are rip offs.

With most people moving to cellphones, the days of the house phone are numbered.

Re:I cut my cable bill by 100% (1)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 10 months ago | (#46373897)

obi boxes let you you use your house's POTS wiring with google voice. It's quite a nice product, at least until Google voice becomes more expensive than free -- though faxing over it can be kind of hit or miss.

Re:I cut my cable bill by 100% (1)

icebike (68054) | about 10 months ago | (#46373987)

Even if Google starts charging its going to be cheaper than Vonage.
Google's international rates are pretty low as well.

Re:I cut my cable bill by 100% (1)

drkim (1559875) | about 10 months ago | (#46374039)

obi boxes let you you use your house's POTS wiring with google voice. It's quite a nice product, at least until Google voice becomes more expensive than free -- though faxing over it can be kind of hit or miss.

Yeah - I'm using GVoice to feed the Obi, but I think the Obi will also work with other phone-over-IP services. (in case GVoice ever goes to a paid model.)

Things I like:
- I was able to move my old phone # to GVoice, so I didn't have to get new business cards, or notify everyone.
- Free - endlessly free..!
- You can route calls through the Obi for long distance cheaper rates if you're away from home.
- I can use my cool vintage telco phones; ringers, dialtone, all work normal. You can even program it to ring 'British style' if you like!

Don't like:
- Setup is a little complex. Your grandma won't be setting it up. (Although, once it's set up, it's bulletproof.)
- No 911 service. Kind of scary.
- Very limited speed-dial memory. And you can't 'see' the numbers, so you have to memorize who is who.

Re:I cut my cable bill by 100% (1)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 10 months ago | (#46374183)

yeah, i've setup Obi boxes for a few family members, and it's one of the few 'set and forget' tech products out there. The amazing part is the cost, for something so cheap, to have it work *well* is a fucking rarity.

Re:I cut my cable bill by 100% (4, Interesting)

David Jao (2759) | about 10 months ago | (#46374523)

Google Voice support ends on May 15. You can't pay to continue using it; the XMPP service (which Obihai requires) is simply being discontinued. http://blog.obihai.com/2013/10... [obihai.com]

Re:I cut my cable bill by 100% (1)

Dorianny (1847922) | about 10 months ago | (#46374533)

obi boxes let you you use your house's POTS wiring with google voice. It's quite a nice product, at least until Google voice becomes more expensive than free -- though faxing over it can be kind of hit or miss.

Google will end of support for XMPP based calling on May 15, 2014 . On that day 3d party systems such as Obi will no longer be able to use Google voice to make or receive phone calls. Fortunately the OBi device may be used with other service providers but non of them are free http://blog.obihai.com/2013/10... [obihai.com] .

Re:I cut my cable bill by 100% (2)

Frobnicator (565869) | about 10 months ago | (#46374055)

Agreed. While the story submitter did get a lower cost, he still lost.

He is getting a phone connection for "$20 plus taxes and fees". They *love* those phone fees, as they can get away with $15 or more on untaxed profit. I'm sure he'll be pleasantly surprised by that.

Also, it is surprising that the DSL alternative is really 1.5Mbit. I'm guessing he hasn't verified that, as most modern DSL connections have a max of 24Mbit if the DSLAM box is relatively close in the neighborhood.

I will never do cable again. I get 16 down/ 8 up DSL for about 1/3 the cost of my neighbors who pay for "up to 25Mbit" Comcast shared cable. The funny thing is that with talking to my neighbors, none of them actually get those speeds. One of my neighbors who is a techie says he gets about 10Mbit during the day, and about 2Mbit during peak evening hours. At least with DSL my speeds are consistent rather than shared with everybody. The funny thing is that they refuse to switch because they want the TV shows, so they stick with the slower cable internet because is somehow they have a better value because it is a bundle. (I don't understand how their brains work, they figure costs using the "up to 25 Mbit" speed rather than "measured 2Mbit" speed... Oh well, Comcast makes money on normal people who are bad at math but good at corporate jingles. )

Some areas also have directional fixed-antenna wireless internet. Right now locally Digis is slightly slower and slightly more expensive than my ADSL connection, but if it becomes a better deal I'm jumping over to them instead. I have zero brand loyalty. As for phone, prepaid cell service costs me about $16/month for my smart phone, including my data and texting. With the phones in my family our combined monthly phone expenses are about $40.

Re: I cut my cable bill by 100% (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 10 months ago | (#46374201)

Who provides you DSL that doesn't slow down at peak? In my area it slows down, and even becomes dead at 830 every night like clockwork (two different providers).

Re: I cut my cable bill by 100% (1)

Frobnicator (565869) | about 10 months ago | (#46374333)

Who provides you DSL that doesn't slow down at peak? In my area it slows down, and even becomes dead at 830 every night like clockwork (two different providers).

Hmm. Sucks to be you. :-(

Cable has lines that run through the neighborhood. Those copper wires are shared at multiple houses, then hook up with a box by the major roads that connect it with fiber. If you have lots of people on a shared line it gets saturated very quickly. Also, if too many people on all of the lines begin to saturate the fiber equipment, it can slow down there, too.

DSL also has a wire that runs from the home to the DSLAM by the major road that connects to fiber; however, the wire is not shared with anyone. The DSLAM box can still be overwhelmed if too many in the area are running, but the connection from the home to the box at the corner is dedicated to the individual; that "last mile" segment should never have downtime and should never be slow since it is a direct wire from your home to the box.

If your DSL bandwidth slows down at peak times I'm guessing the phone company has over-saturated their equipment at the box or between the box and the CO. Sad, really, but with a monopoly you don't get many options when they do that. (Well, you might have some options. Somebody might accidentally damage the box, causing some down time but also some repairs and upgrades if you are lucky. You wouldn't want to have that accident yourself, so you might want to drop some hints to some pesky teenage vandals or something. Kids these days...)

As for resetting at 8:30, sounds like your providers are just jerks. I have read about some who intentionally reset the devices and daily rotate the IP address and drop 'poison packets' into BitTorrent and otherwise deter people from using the connection they paid for. Fortunately I don't have that problem. Also, even though my ISP offers static IP addresses I never paid for one, and my home device has had the same IP address ever since they updated the DSL equipment in the neighborhood about four years ago. Over those years I really only had two days with connectivity problems, both due to backhoes. Yay XMission for awesomeness.

Re: I cut my cable bill by 100% (1)

Frobnicator (565869) | about 10 months ago | (#46374359)

Oh, and the cost, a whopping $43 total combined bill for the 16/8 connection. Also, it looks like they do have a public static address listed as included as part of the package, so scratch that part, it wasn't luck, just XMission continuing to offer great support.

Re:I cut my cable bill by 100% (2)

lpress (707742) | about 10 months ago | (#46374429)

On the phone -- I could not drop it on the spot without talking to my wife ... plus lazy inertia. But, I do have telephone alternatives, which is more than I can say for Internet connectivity.

Verizon DSL is another weird story. I was their customer many years ago, getting around 5 Mbps down on a plan that promised up to 7. One day, they throttled it down to 1.5. When I complained, they told me that at my location with my geriatric wiring, I could only get 1.5. They were not willing to un-throttle it in spite of the fact that I had been getting 5 Mbps the day before. That is the day I became a TWC customer.

I just rechecked my Verizon DSL availability. They say I can get "high speed Internet enhanced" -- 1.1-3.0 Mbps down and 384 Kbps up.

In general, many people are like me -- busy and lazy -- and it takes something big like Verizon throttling my DSL or hearing that I was paying $40 for phone service to get them to get our attention.

Re:I cut my cable bill by 100% (1)

Frobnicator (565869) | about 10 months ago | (#46374489)

Verizon DSL is another weird story. I was their customer many years ago, getting around 5 Mbps down on a plan that promised up to 7. One day, they throttled it down to 1.5. ... 1.1-3.0 Mbps down and 384 Kbps up.

Weird. I guess it really depends on where you live. Based on the email address and the info on the blog, it puts you right in dense Los Angeles suburbia. I cannot fathom the area having such pathetically bad ISPs, although because of the location I can imagine price gouging by corporations. (On second thought, I can imagine the price gouging no matter where you live.)

If we move, I've already got it own as a condition with my wife that the new home have fiber to the home; it can be Google Fiber, or any of the cities with municipal fiber, or even hook it up as part of moving in as long as it is available. FttH is becoming much like electric connections were a century ago. In just a few short years we'll be wondering how so many people live without it.

Re:I cut my cable bill by 100% (1)

ynp7 (1786468) | about 10 months ago | (#46374603)

Not even remotely surprising. DSL speeds vary by a tremendous amount, and often max out at 1.5Mbit. Where I live 1.5Mbit is the _only_ speed of DSL available, even though 24Mbit is available less than half a mile from here.

Re:I cut my cable bill by 100% (1)

lpress (707742) | about 10 months ago | (#46374581)

Why didn't this guy cut his telephone service too?

I could not do that while in the store -- had to talk it over with my wife and may still do it. However, I wish I had tried it just to see if the rep could have found yet another promotion!

Re:I cut my cable bill by 100% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46373469)

Good news! Submitter already *doesn't* get cable through them (just internet and phone).

Re:I cut my cable bill by 100% (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46373769)

To cut it 100%, you'd have to drop internet and phone too...did you do that?

I did. I needed to move a little over a year ago and decided I'd like to ditch cable entirely. I found a niche fiber provider in my area and limited my search of apartments to ones they served. 100mbps symmetric, under $40/mo and I don't miss a thing about cable.

WTF? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46373415)

News for nerds? What the hell is this shit? Fuck Dice and fuck beta!

Re:WTF? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46373467)

Mod parent up

Re:WTF? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46373495)

and fuck TWC

Re:WTF? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46373749)

No thanks, I don't want herpes.

Re:WTF? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46373611)

News for nerds? What the hell is this shit? Fuck Dice and fuck beta!

Does the beta really get you that horny that you want to fuck it?

the phone is pure profit (2)

alen (225700) | about 10 months ago | (#46373423)

what is it? like 50kbps or so of bandwidth for $30 or more per month. take that with upselling faster internet which is a scam considering that all the good content is on a CDN inside their network and will stream with the 20mbps service and that the inter-network links will never support the full speed of all the customers. same with comcast, look at the financial statements and upselling the faster internet and phone is pure profit. the TV business makes almost no profit

i have time warner for TV and internet only. i use my AT&T cell phone with unlimited minutes for the phone. every time i call time warner they push their phone service.

Re:the phone is pure profit (1)

lpress (707742) | about 10 months ago | (#46373463)

The only thing I can think of that is more pure profitable than telephone service is telephone company text messages.

Re:the phone is pure profit (1)

alen (225700) | about 10 months ago | (#46373505)

every cell carrier in the USA has unlimited minutes and texts for cell phones

Re:the phone is pure profit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46373539)

Not true. AT&T required (up till 2013, have not been with them since) an extra $30 dollars a month for "Unlimited Texting".
Otherwise, you paid a few cents (15 to be exact) per message. Total rip off!

Perhaps due to the competitive pressure from T-Mobile they changed this policy finally. I dont know. But I find it unlikely, VZ and AT&T are horrible, money-grubbing companies.

Re:the phone is pure profit (1)

ynp7 (1786468) | about 10 months ago | (#46374605)

Was that $30/month for unlimited text on one line? If it was you were getting ripped off, even for an AT&T customer.

Re:the phone is pure profit (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 10 months ago | (#46373849)

Every carries in the USA has a plan with unlimited texts, yes
Every carries in the USA has unlimited texts on every plan, no. Text message charges are pure profit.

Re:the phone is pure profit (1)

niftydude (1745144) | about 10 months ago | (#46374579)

The only thing I can think of that is more pure profitable than telephone service is telephone company text messages.

Profitable is an understatement - telcos are making up to 90 000% profit [theage.com.au] on text messages,

"Is This News"? (2)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 10 months ago | (#46373433)

Well, no, it's not really news that when you tell TWC or Comcast you're bailing, they will dig out "promotions" to keep you.

I would be very suspect of the claim from the Customer Service rep that the bill will only go up 5 or 10$ per year, though, that's not my experience.

I do think that the $70 or so the OP is paying for Internet and phone is still too high, unless the Internet is wickedly quick. And seriously, the IP based phone that he is still paying $30 or so for is WAY too much.

Power goes out, Internet goes out, phone goes out. Spend that $30 on a treditional copper-wire line for 911 and such. Otherwise, why would you need more than your cell phone? IP phone service is WAY overpriced.

Yes, I know, after the copper wire hits a switch of some kind, it probably gets routed over IP anyway, but at least with copper wire to your house, you almost always have a dial tone, hence 911.

Re:"Is This News"? (1)

weave (48069) | about 10 months ago | (#46373481)

Yes, I know, after the copper wire hits a switch of some kind, it probably gets routed over IP anyway, but at least with copper wire to your house, you almost always have a dial tone, hence 911.

I held onto my copper POTS line for years because of that. But it kept going out and I kept calling in for service. One time my wife called me and said the Verizon guy wanted to get into the basement. I was like "NO. THEY ONLY NEED TO FIX IT AT THE BOX OUTSIDE." She said he insisted he had to get in, so I had her put him on the cell phone with me and he said he had an order to install FIOS.

Of course I never signed up for FIOS so they had to requeue my service call. After a year of it going down about once a month, they finally won. I disconnected my POTS line and got a $12/month Vonage plan.

Re:"Is This News"? (2)

alen (225700) | about 10 months ago | (#46373513)

everyone has had E911 for years now with the IP home phones
you call 911 and they know exactly where to go to

Re:"Is This News"? (1)

tolydude (1080033) | about 10 months ago | (#46373619)

E911 does not negate the key advantage of POTS, which is that it will work when electrical service it out. All the new-fangled phone service over cable and FIOS will be dead in a power outage.

Re:"Is This News"? (2)

E-Rock (84950) | about 10 months ago | (#46373819)

The box we got from the cable company that includes the cable modem and phone hookup has an internal battery backup so the phone will work in a power outage. Not sure if I'd trust that (got a UPS on it anyway) but at least someone thought about it.

Re:"Is This News"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46373903)

After Sandy we didn't have power for two weeks. but even though the wires were all over the road and under trees, the POTS kept going with an old phone in the basement that didn't need external power. neighbours with network based phones were isolated on their street with no way of contacting the outside world. if they could walk to the library that was at least heated and could get you email access after the first week.

The backup battery in the cable box may last for a few hours, but not when faced with a major outage of the kind that happens from time to time.

Long live the POTS. When you need it the most it keeps on trucking.

Re:"Is This News"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46374551)

I'm sure you're aware that your phone is powered the same way your modem is—copper wires running off the street.

Re:"Is This News"? (2)

icebike (68054) | about 10 months ago | (#46373917)

E911 exceeds pots capabilities in every way.
Cell towers have battery and generator backup, and you cell can be charged in your car.
Or 20 bucks gets you auxiliary battery to charge your phone multiple times.

Re:"Is This News"? (2)

hjf (703092) | about 10 months ago | (#46373501)

I live in Argentina. I call my ISP every 6 months to "refresh" my promo. The trick is not to ask for a discount, but outright call and ask for cancellation. That sets all the alarms and they will do anything to keep you. Drag your feet a little (don't accept the first promo).

I also do that with my bank. Account and CC renewal fees are ridiculous.

Re:"Is This News"? (1)

Kalium70 (3437049) | about 10 months ago | (#46373639)

Yes, once you mention canceling your service, the representative moves to a completely different script. In fact, in some companies, the original representative will transfer you to a different department, such as customer retention. Either way, a representative is then allowed to present some offers that are not advertised or might normally only be available to new customers because the goal is now to "save" the account (i.e. convince the customer not to cancel).

Yep, true story, cancel away! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46374383)

Yeah, exactly. Asking for a promotion NEVER works. The bare thought of cancellation on the other hand...

I once tried to get another year of a channel package to watch a specific sport, and asked if they could give me the currently running promotion. That was of course impossible, "only for new customers", so I told them that I wanted to cancel my entire cable subscription, got transfered to another department. When they asked me why I wanted to end my subscription, I told them the truth. I wanted that channel package, but it was too expensive, and without that package, there was no point in having cable TV at all. Then all of a sudden there was no problem with giving me the promotion...

Kind of win/win for me. I would either be free of the cable bill, or get the channels I wanted at a price I could tolerate.

Of course, one should only ever make threats one can live up to. :-)

Re:"Is This News"? (1)

ynp7 (1786468) | about 10 months ago | (#46374617)

Everyone always says that, but it never seems to be true when I call. I've never had more pleasant or helpful Comcast CSRs than when I've called to cancel my account.

Re:"Is This News"? (1)

BradMajors (995624) | about 10 months ago | (#46373509)

Did you know that you could also use your cell phone when your internet goes out?

Re:"Is This News"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46373717)

Really?

[checks]

Nope. It turns out you're full of crap. I don't have a cell phone.

Re: "Is This News"? (1)

Dzimas (547818) | about 10 months ago | (#46373757)

I discovered that the backup systems for our local cell towers run about 8 hours before you lose phone service during a major outage. While that is a small comfort, the pots system continued to run for days because of more robust generator backup. I know which I prefer.

Re: "Is This News"? (2)

icebike (68054) | about 10 months ago | (#46373935)

Cell towers are required to have generator backup for a week.
Of course if the storm knocks out the back haul you get nothing, but that can also happen to your pots, but chances are any random tree blow down will kill your pots long before that.

Re: "Is This News"? (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 10 months ago | (#46374337)

Cell towers are required to have generator backup for a week.

It's possible this is true in your state, but it's certainly not true elsewhere.

Re: "Is This News"? (1)

oobayly (1056050) | about 10 months ago | (#46374339)

Really, it's an actual requirement, for a week? Is that a requirement in your county, state or country, because I haven't seen any requirements for that. If it's true, then it would explain why US mobile contracts are so expensive [therichest.com] - the operators would have to have a battery plus generator for every tower.

The cell tower outside our office (in the middle of nowhere in the UK), which gives us HSDPA has a battery that will last for about 3 hours, though I don't doubt that towers in more densly populated areas will have more robust solutions.

Re:"Is This News"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46373595)

Well, no, it's not really news that when you tell TWC or Comcast you're bailing, they will dig out "promotions" to keep you.

Exactly. There are different departments offering promotions to keep you throwing money at them:

  • The loyalty department usually has the crappiest offers.
  • The retentions department usually offer the same crappy offer as loyalty. After you are on the phone with a rep for a few minutes, they somehow "found" another promotion in the system.
  • If those offers are still not juicy enough, certain providers even have a callback department. However, you have to reject the retentions' offer(s) and hang up. I once had a year's worth of free Internet and cable service from that.

These offers usually last for a year. Keep calling back every year to get continued discounts.

Re:"Is This News"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46373621)

Power goes out, Internet goes out, phone goes out. Spend that $30 on a treditional copper-wire line for 911 and such.

It's actually kind of cute that you think LEC field techs still know what a copper-wire phone line is, much less offer it as a product.

Good luck finding that shit, and your complaints regarding IP phone service being highly overpriced speaks volumes as to why the fuck they refuse to offer you anything but.

They didn't get rich by saying "please". They got rich by saying "Fuck you very much, here's your new service, and have a nice day."

why do people use landlines again? (1)

alen (225700) | about 10 months ago | (#46373437)

every cell carrier in the USA has been offering unlimited minutes and texts for years now as the baseline features on all their plans

Re:why do people use landlines again? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46373573)

And how much do they charge you per month for that again? For what you're paying for "unlimited" text messages, you could probably run two land lines and call up your friends and chat as much as you'd like.

Re:why do people use landlines again? (1)

jopsen (885607) | about 10 months ago | (#46374261)

40-50 USD with a subscription from a TracFone subsidiary and that includes 2-3 GB data.
TracFone has a few subsidiarity like net10, StraightTalk, and SimpleMobile, they are mostly the same.

All these runs on AT&T, Sprint and T-mobile networks. I had problems getting a signal with an expensive T-mobile subscription in my apartment, and AT&T which seems to have connection was way to expensive, so I just switched to net10, works fine.

I'm new in the US (H-1B) relocated from Denmark, a small country but with is much more competition on the phone market. I think it due to regulations that certain close-to-monopoly-like carriers must allow other operators to sell their capacity.

Anyways, I'm surprised people go with the name-brand subscriptions, it makes no sense... At certainly makes no sense to pay 70 USD to 115 USD (which is what AT&T tried to sell me).

Cheapness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46373613)

My landline costs me 20 bucks a month. Tied with google voice for long distance, thats considerably cheaper than most cellphone plans.

Re:Cheapness (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46373683)

It's only cheaper if you don't also have a cell phone.

Re:Cheapness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46373793)

Skype premium is half the price. And there's a ton of other options in that range. Phone service directly from the telcos is a ripoff. If you've got an internet connection, 20 bucks is way too much to be spending on a voice line.

Re:why do people use landlines again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46373739)

every cell carrier in the USA has been offering unlimited minutes and texts for years now as the baseline features on all their plans

Virgin Mobile offers unlimited internet instead of unlimited minutes. Try again.

Re:why do people use landlines again? (1)

QuesarVII (904243) | about 10 months ago | (#46373773)

There are plenty of non-unlimited plans out there.

I have a $12 a month plan with only 250 mins and texts. Low limits, but cheap as hell. Only 5c a min if I go over, which I've only done once in a year.
www.pagepluscellular.com [pagepluscellular.com]

Re:why do people use landlines again? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46373783)

why do people use landlines again?

Because cell coverage is neither universal nor 100% reliable?

Cell signal disappears about 2 miles from my house. 0%. Nada. Zip.

"So move" I'm sure you'll say. Well that's just utter BS. I don't live my life chasing cell towers. The residential infrastructure predates cell tower placement. "Just move" is the naive, uneducated cry from spoiled people who've always lived in urban areas and have no concept of the rural majority of the USA's landmass. The cell companies are responsible to make their product accessible to where people live, not just throw down some towers and expect everyone else to uproot their residence and lives just for some luxury service. I have water, electricity, high-speed internet, satellite TV... and a reliable telephone connection that never goes down. Ever. I have a cell phone, but that's a secondary luxury, and due to its intrusiveness when it rings it's also not the default number the average person gets when I give out my #.

Landlines are reliable, uniquitous, and can carry internet service that is based on speed and not on a capped # of GB/month. That's why we still use landlines, you cocky hipster ass.

Re:why do people use landlines again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46374397)

Cell signal disappears about 2 miles from my house. 0%. Nada. Zip.

And exactly how far away from your house can you use your landline? Less than two miles I'd wager... ;-P

Re:why do people use landlines again? (1)

MBC1977 (978793) | about 10 months ago | (#46373955)

To send faxes and not go to a Staples / OfficeMax / Kinkos.

Re:why do people use landlines again? (1)

will_die (586523) | about 10 months ago | (#46374379)

There are things like http://www.voicecti.com/teleph... [voicecti.com] which can remove that need. Depending on your land phone cost you could recover the cost in a year.

Re:why do people use landlines again? (1)

antdude (79039) | about 10 months ago | (#46373981)

Is that unlimited Internet service? No caps and fast like cable (e.g., 15/1)? I care not about voice.

Re:why do people use landlines again? (1)

Frobnicator (565869) | about 10 months ago | (#46374121)

Is that unlimited Internet service? No caps and fast like cable (e.g., 15/1)? I care not about voice.

If you want a big plan, T-Mobile's prepaid internet is cheap. Some of their older better plans are gone, but they still list $30/month for 100 minutes talk (10 cents per minute over), unlimited text, and data with 5 gigabytes of 4G, then unlimited 2G. There are no bonus fees added to the bill.

If you prefer a dumb-phone, prepaid through T-Mobile is ten cents per minute, ten cents per text, with no other fees. As long as you use put more money in every year the minutes don't expire. That's what we use for my kids' phones since I much prefer them to use dumb phones for parenting reasons. Combined we spend only a few dollars per month on their phones.

My household's monthly cell bill is about $40 to $45, with four phones in use.

Re:why do people use landlines again? (1)

antdude (79039) | about 10 months ago | (#46374141)

Only 5GB? Bah.

Re:why do people use landlines again? (1)

ynp7 (1786468) | about 10 months ago | (#46374627)

Name one.

Roll you own phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46373465)

I canceled my TWC phone and went with Callcentric phone. Now my TWC bill is $50 for internet and $5/mo for phone.

Cutting any recurring bill (1)

komisar (449368) | about 10 months ago | (#46373479)

You said the magic words, "I want to cancel my (TV/Internet/Phone, etc.). Nothing fets their attention like the word cancel. Always at least threaten to cancel before quitting a service.

T-minus Eight Days and Counting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46373507)

Hey, Clock Monkey! Citizens Everywhere Will Damage Their Biological Rhythm for Society's Good; Will You Be One of Them? Jump, Boy, Jump!

How is this news? (1)

dave562 (969951) | about 10 months ago | (#46373537)

I thought this was common knowledge. It is always prudent to renegotiate cable bills. Cable is a luxury for most of America. That is why the reps have so many options and various packages to choose from. The companies are all about customer retention. They cannot retain customers with their sub par service, so the only tool in their arsenal is to discount their offerings.

This is common. (4, Informative)

Xeno man (1614779) | about 10 months ago | (#46373545)

The reality is that expenses are not linked to individual customers to provide service. If a cable company is servicing a neighborhood of 1000 houses, it cost the exact same if 10% are customers or 100% are customers. They will charge you up the ass because most people will pay for it but if you threaten to go elsewhere they will give deep discounts to keep you. It's called customer retention. It's better for them to cut a bill from $100 to $50 because $50 a month is better than the $0 a month.

It just goes to show what a monopoly they have because they could easily cut their prices in half, still be profitable and would have more customers as people would be more willing to keep cable tv as well as have phone and internet.

Better answer: disconnect service (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46373549)

I survived on 1.5mbps DSL just fine for years and years. I didn't even subscribe to cable TV and I'm an avid entertainment addict. I stream a lot of content online. I eventually moved to 10mbps DSL. Had the option of 25mbps... then I moved and had to revert to 10mbps. In any event my point is that you don't need to put up with it. Instead of getting your “great deal” hit the kill switch. And my voip phone service runs less than $10 USD a month. My 10mbps connection runs $50 with taxes inc (around $35-$40 w/o I believe).

It's all rigged. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46373561)

I worked for a Pay TV provider for 2 years as a retention agent. They're all the same. It costs more money to get new customers than to retain old ones, and with the sunk cost of the infrastructure (satellite, cable, or fiber) it costs them almost nothing for an existing customer under contract. You can get the largest package, all the premium channels, and free ppv events if you know how to work the system.

The trick is to threaten to cancel. Threaten to drop everything and go to a competitor. Make them work to keep you.

The first line agents will offer you peanuts. Most people accept this offer and feel good about lowering the bill. Don't accept the first, second, or third offers. Make sure they document the offer being provided - insist on an email of the offers so you can consider them. If the agent can't do that, their manager or supervisor can - and will - if you ask reasonably.

Once you have their 3rd offer documented, it will likely be in the range of $30 to $40 off per month of the listed price. Let it sit 3-4 days, then call in and get back to a second or third tier retention agent. Let them know that you have family or friends in the industry - (a niece or nephew or cousin or good friend) that is offering another $20 lower for their best package without having to fight.

Let the agent know that you would stay with their company if they could match the savings for at least 6 months. Also ask if they have any perks or extra to throw in, like free ppv movies or events, or free streaming. Insist on free premium packages as if you were a new customer.

Your bill will drop from the $120 for the premium package with all the movie channels to $40 a month for 3 months, and then around $70 until the discounts run out.

Rinse and repeat. Every premium core package costs them roughly $3 per customer. The movie channels cost around $5 per customer on average. They need to be at $10/month, regardless of your channels, to make a profit. The rest of it is negotiable.

It should go without saying, but to get the most out of the system, make sure you make your payments on time.

Re:It's all rigged. (1)

lpress (707742) | about 10 months ago | (#46374481)

Thanks for the inside story! Do the retention agents take your alternatives into account? If the girl had checked with Verizon and AT&T she would have seen that she had me.

Really? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46373567)

You, ah, just figured this out did you?

Maybe for your next gripping blog post you could write about the crazy new trend called 'Hybrid Vehicles'. Maybe talk about Intel creating their new 'Pentium' chips that will soon obsolete the 486's...

Only works if you have viable alternatives (4, Interesting)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 10 months ago | (#46373585)

And the Cable companies track on a per person / per neighborhood basis whether you do or not. I was paying $75/mo just for internet at one point because there was no DSL in my neighborhood. My buddy got the same service for $55/mo, but he could jump ship to DSL because his house was newer. When I called to "cancel" they just called my bluff ala South Park

Big Data is real and they use it to screw us.

Re:Only works if you have viable alternatives (1)

antdude (79039) | about 10 months ago | (#46373951)

But you can dump its TV services for satellite, OTA, etc. I bet TWC would drop this offer since they would be /.'ed from this article. Heh.

Re:Only works if you have viable alternatives (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46374085)

Satellite doesn't work if you want to play games, or care about latency for other reasons. OTA is pretty terrible in most places, at least compared to a traditional broadband connection.

Re:Only works if you have viable alternatives (0)

evilviper (135110) | about 10 months ago | (#46374303)

I was paying $75/mo just for internet at one point because there was no DSL in my neighborhood. My buddy got the same service for $55/mo, but he could jump ship to DSL because his house was newer

I have not seen ANY service providers that do this...

Time Warner offers the same $15/mo 2/1Mbps internet service EVERYWHERE in their service area. Comcast, Charter, Verizon, AT&T, etc., have their pricing listed on their website, for ANYBODY to look at, without first entering your address.

The service providers might be offering cut-to-the-bone promotional fees where they're losing customers to competitors, but I certainly haven't seen them doing that, either.

After Cox gave me a crazy late-fee, I called to cancel my service. They offered me all kinds of promotions, even though my monstrous apartment complex (several city blocks) was all pre-wired by Cox, and no other wired internet service was available (and LTE was just barely being built). They didn't seem to know I didn't really have any other options.

Save more (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46373597)

I saved 100% by canceling AT&T cable TV.

WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46373635)

110 USD for watching ads? Damn. Glad I live in a country with good DVB-T broadcast and pay $8 for it each month.

Re:WTF (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46373687)

I'm glad you live in that country, too. Stay there.

Ha ... I saved WAY more (3, Insightful)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about 10 months ago | (#46373721)

I saved 50% by switching to GEICO.

Or how about how I get 90% off on French Fries because I made them myself using a $3.99 10-Pound bag of potatoes?

Also I saved $73 on ketchup and toilet paper last year by hording ketchup packets and always asking for extra napkins everywhere I go.

I also made $2,223 in extra income by only going to the bathroom while at work, so I not increased my leisure time but received a 100% return on investment for sitting on the toilet.

Or something ... What's next? The secret to clipping coupons or how to make $43 typing in the codes on your Mt. Dew caps to the website or filling out the online survey on the Burger King receipt?

Re:Ha ... I saved WAY more (1)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 10 months ago | (#46373913)

That sounds like an interesting TV show -- bean counters gone wild.

Re:Ha ... I saved WAY more (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46373937)

I also made $2,223 in extra income by only going to the bathroom while at work

So, would you say you have a shitty job?

Speaking of monopolies... Comcast (1)

gwstuff (2067112) | about 10 months ago | (#46374099)

Comcast has a monopoly in our area. I have had conversations resembling the one in the article with Comcast reps. About a year ago, a rep put me on a promotion that lowered my bill while also adding a phone service, which I didn't have at the time. The rep said I would have to call back after 9 months and ask to be put on a different promotion if I didn't want my bill to go up. 9 months later I called again and the rep in question claimed that I was going to be on the promotion for another year. After arguing with her and getting her to recheck the account about thrice... she finally conceded that I was due for a rate change that month and figured out a way to let me keep the rate in place.

Then a strange thing happened 5 months ago. I stopped being able to access my billing information online - the system denied me access "for my own protection" and asked for a PIN that I could only request over mail, by calling tech support (long waits...). I have requested it twice but not received it yet. This is one of the things that *nearly* had me convinced that the second rep was right - because I didn't have a way to check the info myself. The only reason I kept pestering the rep was that my wife, who was sitting next to me kept insisting I stay put... good thing I listened.

It is a disgraceful way of making money, like the author concluded in his post.

Re:Speaking of monopolies... Comcast (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 10 months ago | (#46374219)

never deal with the phone reatards, there is a local customer service center in your local town, go there, spend 5 min and watch them freak out when you look them in the eye while they lie to you

boom fast and done

Re:Speaking of monopolies... Comcast (1)

lpress (707742) | about 10 months ago | (#46374503)

Good advice -- I am not sure what would have happened if I had just been on the phone. I will experiment next year -- they've got my interest now.

Common Knowledge (1)

aaronb1138 (2035478) | about 10 months ago | (#46374289)

I thought every reasoning person in the US (where such horseshit happens) had already figured out the whole, promotional 6,12,24-month pricing has expired, call the retention department to return to that rate for another year game that the phone, satellite, and more so cable companies were making every intelligent or thrifty person wade through.

I don't even watch cable TV for a few years and I knew this. Are there people so incredibly ignorant here?

Re:Common Knowledge (1)

lpress (707742) | about 10 months ago | (#46374541)

Can someone explain the Slashdot scoring algorithm to me? This egotistical boob is saying the same thing several others said and they got scores of "0." Why does this egotistical boob get a higher score than his/her predecessors?

Cut your bill by 80% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46374461)

Just drop the pr0n.

Slashvertisement (-1, Troll)

MarkvW (1037596) | about 10 months ago | (#46374485)

Are you people really trying to drive us away?

OTA all the way (1)

Hamsterdan (815291) | about 10 months ago | (#46374561)

I'm only getting 14 channels, was wondering if I would miss TV, but NO. Main PC running BeyondTV with one tuner, Win7 Media Center Machine running 2 tuners in the living room, Homeworx 150PVR in the bedroom on a 27" Trinitron XBR.

100% cable-free since 2009. Now building a big-ass antenna (DBGH open-source) http://imageevent.com/holl_and... [imageevent.com]

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