Friday, November 22, 2013

Cutting the Cord

It's been almost three years since I announced in this space that I was considering dumping the cable company  ( )and last week I finally did it. As with the last time, it was a confluence of events that precipitated the need for a change: another hard-to-resist offer from Fairpoint DSL service (this time with prices that get even LOWER over time) arrived just in advance of a package from my cable company, which contained a device required to receive the now encrypted signal for all channels.

I never watch TV anymore but I occasionally have guests who like to watch a ball game or tune in the local news so I had no problem shelling out a few bucks a month for the basic cable package. However, when I discovered that I apparently didn't even have that anymore since I had not installed the requisite decoder, I said, "enough is enough". The time to cut the cord was at hand.

I called Fairpoint to get the particulars of installing their DSL service for my Internet connection and I was pleasantly surprised to find that they would send me the necessary modem, which I could install myself after they had done the necessary technical work on their end - no service call was required. I was even more pleasantly surprised when the very helpful young woman suggested that I could save money on my phone service by switching to another plan, with the overall net effect being that I would pay for phone service and Internet combined about the same as I had been paying for phone service alone - OK, we have a deal!

The equipment arrived as promised and, after a slight delay due to an incomplete installation on their part, my new high-speed Internet service was up and running. I played with it for a couple of days to be sure everything was operating as advertised, and then I boxed up my old Comcast modem and the brand-new decoder they had just sent to me and took the whole kit and caboodle to their local office to cancel my service.  I have to say that process was surprisingly easy and efficient - the lone customer-service rep on duty apparently had a lot of experience in these matters because while I was there she dealt with a steady stream of customers who came in with equipment to return.

On the way home from cancelling my cable service I stopped at the local mall to check out the selection of antennas designed to receive over-the-air HDTV signal and after a few minutes of shopping I came away with an indoor model that promised clear reception of all channels within 50 miles, for under forty bucks.  When I got home and hooked it up I was once again pleasantly surprised to discover that it brought in a total of 15 channels, which is probably more than I had with cable.

So to recap: my $70 per month cable bill is history; my phone bill is pretty much unchanged at $50+ but now I get Internet as well as phone service; and all my local TV stations are free after a one-time investment of $40 or so.  Why didn't I do this years ago, I wonder?

I love to end these posts with an appropriate video so I googled "cutting the cord" and here's what I got back - enjoy!: