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!:


  1. So - how's the internet speed? I had DSL way back when, but the connection speed just couldn't compete with cable. Add in that all my preferred sports are on cable now and I'm pretty much stuck with my cable package.

    1. Hi, Z - good to hear from you. So far the internet speed seems to be a pretty consistent 3Mbps, which is what they promised and is plenty fast for my needs. My old cable service promised faster download speeds but often dropped to dial-up levels, which was very frustrating. So far I'm happy with the switch.