Users in our Cablevision forum
indicate that they're being notified by Cablevision that their Optimum Online standalone broadband service will be seeing a rate hike. According to the notices, users currently paying $55 a month for 15 Mbps down, 5 Mbps up -- will now be asked to pay $60 a month for the same service. While there are some promotions run that could lower this rate (especially if you bundle), Cablevision recently stated they were backing away from promotions
, insisting that promotional price battles with Verizon FiOS have been a "dead end for us."
We've seen a marked decrease in the number of promotional offers being bandied about by Verizon and Cablevision as they do battle in the NYC metro area, and Cablevision executives have hinted we'll be seeing even fewer. "The customer that’s been bouncing from one company to another on promotional discounts has hit a dead-end with us," recently insisted Cablevision CEO James Dolan on the company's earnings call. Verizon doesn't appear to agree, the company this past weekend returning to a promotional offer that includes
the FiOS triple play -- plus a $300 VISA gift card -- for $80 a month for the first twelve months. Triple play offers when off promotion usually sit somwhere around the $115 to $120 a month mark for both ISPs.
Last week we noted that Comcast is only the latest pay TV provider to pass on broadcast industry retransmission fee hikes in new below the line fees
, even though they're also passing on those costs via standard rate hikes. Users in our Wide Open West forum
(WOW) note that WOW is also making heavy use of the fee, a notice being sent to consumers informing users they'll not only see hikes, the "Broadcast TV Surcharge" will be increased to $4 per month for many.
The company's website gives this explanation for the fee:
WOW! will impose a Broadcast TV Surcharge on those customers who subscribe (whether alone or as part of a bundle of services) to any WOW! cable television service (except limited basic). This surcharge is not a government mandated tax or fee and is subject to change. The surcharge is in addition to other charges associated with the WOW! cable television services.
As noted previously, even though retrans hikes are technically just the cost of doing business, burying them below the line allows companies to artificially keep their advertised rates the same.
Verizon appears to be the latest to join the rate-hike season festivities, with a notice being sent out to some FiOS subscribers
that the company will be bumping FiOS rates over the next few billing cycles (I've dropped a line to see how broad these hikes will be).
According to a message being sent to some subscribers, Verizon's increasing the cost of TV programming and bundles around $8 a month. The company also says they're increasing the regional sports fee tacked on to bundles with sports programming from $2.42 a month to $3.48 a month.
Verizon started charging the regional sports fee back at the beginning of the year
, around the same time they started offering new channel bundles (like FiOS Select HD
) that pull sports programming out of the lineup entirely.
"As I understand it, Google Fiber is basically a science experiment," cable overbuilder RCN tells Ars Technica
in a piece on why most carriers aren't matching Google Fiber's 1 Gbps speeds (spoiler: limited competition). "I have no doubt that there will come a day that gigabit speeds are necessary in our daily lives, but I'm not sure that day is here yet," insists RCN. "When it's here, RCN will be offering it." As I've noted a few times
, carriers would prefer the national conversation be focused on why you don't need 1 Gbps
, instead of why their services are slow and very expensive (spoiler: limited competition).
Just when you thought that Comcast had found all streams of revenue from advertisement dollars, they have found a new way to raise their profits: Change the Nielson ratings to make Comcast look better. As the New York Post
Comcast, the nation’s biggest cable provider, wants to count viewers who devour multiple episodes of shows, while giving the most current episode a ratings lift.
Add Cox Communications to a long list of ISPs
whose usage meters don't appear to be entirely accurate. For much of the last few years our readers have been complaining in our forums
that the company's online usage meter falsely reports usage (both over and under estimates).
CenturyLink has sent out a notice to customers informing them that the company is hiking the price of "dry loop" (aka DSL without a voice line) by $2. According to mailed notices being sent to users
, the price hike should appear on customers' December bills.
Back in April, wireless carriers and the government announced
that they'd be collaborating on building a new nationwide database to track stolen phones (specifically the IMEI number, not just the SIM card ID). The goal is to reduce the time that stolen phones remain useful, thereby drying up the market for stolen phones and reducing the ability of criminals to use the devices to dodge surveillance.
Last month we were the first to note
that Comcast was trying something a little different on the promotions front, offering users a bundle of 25 Mbps broadband, about 20 TV channels and HBO for around $40 to $50 depending on the market. Unfortunately for users that promo offer only applied to new customers, and ballooned to $60 to $70 after twelve months, then to $70 to $80 for the last six months of a two-year agreement.
The retransmission fees broadcasters charge pay TV operators to carry their content have been the source of increasingly obnoxious conflict
the last few years resulting in all manner of content blackouts and bad behavior
by both sides. And it's only going to get worse. According to a report released last week by SNL Kagan
(pdf), retransmission fees are expected to soar 130% by 2019, at which point pay TV operators will shell out $7.6 billion annually (compared to $3.3 billion this year). Granted it's no skin off of cable operators' teeth since all of those costs are passed directly on to you, increasingly in the form of below the line fees on top of
the usual rate increases (also blamed on programming cost increases).
Tablets are among the coolest and most widely-used handheld devices ever created, right up there with electric razors, cordless drills and digital cameras. A Pew report this past summer
revealed one in three adults in America own a tablet. The tablet – just one of many sci-fi items that made its way to reality – made fictional debuts in films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey
, novels such as Isaac Asimov's Foundation
, and in several episodes of Star Trek
, in many shapes and forms.
It's cool that tablet technology is here.
Cable operators have made their dislike of broadcast industry retransmission fee hikes very clear, and as you'd expect those price hikes are being passed on to you. Curiously though, instead of just raising the price of services (which they do anyway), cable operators have taken to placing these fees below the line, where they can jack up customer prices further -- but keep the advertised rate the same. story continues..
Right on the heels of rate hikes for AT&T U-Verse users
, Comcast has joined the rate hike season festivities and will soon inform additional users that they'll see a suite of new rate hikes starting January 1. Among the latest suite of hikes is an increase of $2 for all broadband tiers, an increase in the price of various TV tiers of $1-$2, and an increase in the cost of renting a modem from $7 to $8 a month.
The tail end of the year usually means cable TV and broadband rate hike announcement season for most users, and AT&T's U-Verse appears poised to be one of the first out of the gate. CoolMan
directs your attention to a post in the official U-Verse forums
highlighting upcoming pricing changes submitted to the Connecticut Public Utilities Reglatory Authority. According to the post, most channel bundles will increase $3, the price of non-DVR TV receiver rental will increase $1, and AT&T's "Broadcast TV Surcharge" (their way of burying retrans fee hikes below the line) will jump $1 to $3. The hikes should take effect on January 26 for most users.
I've talked a lot about how AT&T and Verizon are going state
gutting regulations that cover copper networks so they can back away from unwanted POTS and DSL customers they refuse to upgrade. Both companies have framed this largely cost-savings decision as an "evolutionary step toward the IP age," even if the real-world impact for many may involve losing DSL as a competitive option
, losing reliable POTS lines, and higher prices and less competition for everyone.
While Sprint MVNO FreedomPop has offered a "freemium
" mobile wireless service and even a residential wireless broadband option
for some time now, they only just started selling phones last month
under the same model as their previous offerings: you can grab 200 minutes, 500 SMS and 500 MBs of data for free -- with anything above that costing you.
expanded customer options further with the news that they'll be allowing users to bring their older Sprint phones to use with FreedomPop's lower cost service offerings.
Forbes blogger Adam Tanner was one of several to get Comcast's latest HBO bundle promotional offer (leaked first here at DSLReports
), which offers 25 Mbps broadband, Comcast's Streampix streaming service, and 20 channels of TV (including HBO) for $40 to $60, depending largely on the level of local competition and regional programming costs.
Tanner, confused by why he was seeing various prices for the same Comcast bundle in different places and via different representatives, contacted Comcast and was given a list of reasons why that could happen
by Comcast EVP Marcien Jenckes.
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