Cutting the Cord (and other anti-cable/satellite stories)

Cutting the Cord (and other anti-cable/satellite stories)
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#1

I can’t believe we don’t have a thread dedicated to this yet. And while the story I’m about to tell isn’t exactly about cutting the cord, it was an extremely satisfying way to dump my internet provider.

First, the background story:
Years ago, we cut our cable in favor of using OTA channels coupled with a TiVo and partnered with Netflix and Hulu to get all of our content. In our area, we had two options: Charter (Spectrum) and Frontier. Frontier’s top speed was Charter’s bottom and was not really an option for gaming. So, we had ONE option—the localized monopoly. And their service was abysmal. I paid for 60 MBs, but every speed test averaged out to about 30-40 (I have the logs and I’ve only gotten 60 once, so I know it’s possible). And their service would randomly slow to a crawl or stop working all-together and no amount of trouble-shooting on their end fixed the problem. Even buying a new router resulted in half the speed I was paying for.

About June, I got a flyer that TDS Fiber was moving into our neighborhood (the whole city actually) and their internet package was 100 MBs (up and down) for $20 less a month than what Charter was offering. I posted about this in Jun, actually, but here’s what I said then:

I’m planning on divorcing my ISP. And, unfortunately, I wasn’t smart enough 15+ years ago to think, “Hey, what happens if I no longer want Charter as my internet provider?”

So far, Warner Brothers (WBID) is the worst. There is literally no way to change your email address.

We are getting TDS Fiber in our neighborhood this fall (installing the lines right now) and for $20 LESS per month, I can get 100/100 as opposed to Charter’s fantastically unreliable 47ish/7ish coupled with garbage-tier customer service. I called them up the other day and said, “Yo, TDS is moving in and is cheaper for almost triple the speed. What can you do to compete and keep me as a customer.” The girl replied, “would you like to schedule a disconnect?” WTH?!? That is some nice service there, Charter. Yes. I will be scheduling a disconnect as long as I can figure out this email switching catastrophe.

Fast Forward to Last Week Tuesday:
TDS Fiber was finally installed (that’s another nightmare story involving hired contractors that came out to bury the line and purposely cut through Charter’s line, so Charter had to come out and rebury their line and I know it was on purpose because the lines were marked and after Charter reburied our line, he got in his truck, pulled forward 7-feet and got out to rebury the neighbor’s line too). But I digress…

I ran a speed test on 3 devices: 90s and even one over 100. I’d never get what I paid for with Charter, so that’s already a plus. I waited a week to cancel Charter and finally called them up yesterday and you’d be amazed at how fast I was connected with a real person after stating I was calling to disconnect.

Her first question, why? And I said, “Actually, one of your customer service reps convinced me to cancel. A competitor was moving into our neighborhood, offering more than twice your speed for $20 less a month and I asked what you can do to stay competitive. She said we were ‘getting your lowest rate, would you like to schedule a disconnect?’ I said, not right now, but I will be calling back. And here we are.”

She was shocked. And said that maybe she was just trying to get you to say you were canceling then and there and they’d have transferred you over to someone like me. Who then tried to convince me to stay. She offered to up my service from 60 to 100 for only a $1 extra a month. I said—essentially—no thanks. Your service is garbage and I never even get 60 MBs in all the speed tests I run. Also, it cuts out randomly. And third, it’s still $20 MORE EXPENSIVE THAN YOUR COMPETITOR. I’ve been a customer for 2+ decades and for your rep to just casually toss me aside was unbelievably disrespectful.

She tried again to get me to bite on the 100 MB offer and I replied with, “Oh, one other thing. With Net Neutrality going away next week, I don’t trust your company one bit to not tack on pricy packages to your already expensive services. I want nothing to do with Charter once those rules are gone.”

So, today, I wrapped up the modem and rubber banded the TDS brochure I got in my door the very first time to it and will be throwing the whole thing through their window. Or placing it on their desk. Probably the latter, actually, but I can fantasize.

I felt so good after getting off the phone with them. Unlike when I canceled my cable. They didn’t try to retain me at all. Just a “cya” and were more than happy to take my money for piss-poor internet quality for years.

Also… I’m not sure if it’s coincidence or what, but as soon as I started gaming with TDS’s 100 MBs, my Starfighter Assault scores when from middle-of-the-pack to Top-5-Every-Time levels. It’s probably the speed.


Any other good stories about cable-cutting, switching or tips and tricks to saving as much money as possible while watching insanely unhealthy levels of TV?


#2

I liked this before finishing reading just for the thumbnail.

Now that I have read it, I would still like it. I have probably been cable-less for about 8-9 years now, and only ever regret it when football season rolls around. Our OTA signal has never been reliable enough, and I haven’t taken the time I should to place a proper antenna on the roof/attic. I know there are finally some decent packages for streaming sports, but if there are anything like the ESPN streaming services, they are absolute horseshit when it comes to consistent stream quality.

Speaking of inconsistencies, the same holds true for my “fiber-to-the-home” CenturyLink connection. When they installed it, I could consistently get 400-600 Mbps, which isn’t the 1 Gbps cap they market, but it was high enough for me to be happy with it. Now, I feel like it sticks around the 30 - 90 Mbps, and usually slows to a crawl in the late evening, around 9 PM, but I only ever test wirelessly. I have been meaning to log their speeds, but I have been too lazy to setup a direct connection to the modem, and haven’t found good software that could keep an ongoing log to track speeds. I can run tests manually, but I’m not nearly ambitious enough to do that on a regular basis. What did you use to monitor your speeds, Smurf?


#3

We dropped cable about 10 years ago. We’re lucky enough to have family that still subscribes so we have access to HBO and other VoD stuff. Otherwise we have Netflix and Amazon.

The one thing I miss is being able to watch Wild games. If FSN offered up their own streaming option, I’d jump on it. I know a couple of the new streaming packages include FSN (Sling Blue, PS Vue?) but I’d be paying for a bunch of crap I don’t want (just like cable).

I wish we had more options for internet, but honestly, I can’t complain too much when I hear about people who’s only option is single digit speeds for ridiculous prices. I feel like some real competition would just help keep everyone honest. Right now, they can jack my price up and know there isn’t shit I can do about it.


#4

I use speedtest.net and they keep a log of your speeds and when you ran the tests.


#5

Yeah, still requires manual intervention, which isn’t the end of the world, just wish there was some automated logging I could setup.


#6

My wife and I are probably terrible examples of cord cutters.

Netflix
Amazon Prime
Hulu+ (No ads)
Showtime (sometimes)
HBO (when GOT is on)
Sling Blue (Tru TV & HGTV plus NFL games)

I think that’s it.

Fortunately, we get 80/80 on our FiOS.