An analysis of monthly cable bills by SNL Kagan found that while all cable TV bills are high (and increasing, sometimes twice a year) Cablevision customers have it the worst in terms of high rates
. Cablevision customers on average now pay the company $152.72 a month, significantly higher than the next most expensive cable operators -- Comcast ($137.24 per month on average) and Verizon FiOS ($122.57 per month on average).
Cablevision raised rates 5.5% last year, twice the rate of inflation, the study notes.
For a while Verizon and Cablevision competed intensely for users in the New York City area, offering a steady stream of bundle promotions in order to lure users to one side of the fence or the other.
The last few years however both companies have rather quietly and unofficially agreed to stop competing quite so seriously, with Verizon raising prices on FiOS services whenever possible
, and Cablevision management openly stating
they now find promotional offers (and the savvy users who use them) to be a "dead end."
Cable operators justly blame programmers for these hikes, with ESPN a familiar culprit. However, cable operators also continue to hike prices at every possible opportunity as well -- be it for modem rentals
, DVR rentals, or even to pay your bill in person
or over the phone.
That's before you examine the bevy of below the line fees
cable operators use to pad your bill even further. Studies like the one from SNL Kagan (or global broadband and TV price comparisons, which the US generally fares poorly in) aren't even taking those fees into account, and they can drive up consumer bills dramatically.
While broadcasters and cable operators share blame for soaring rates, so do consumers. After all, even after significant grumbling, they keep paying an arm and a leg year after year for hundred of channels they never watch.
On the heels of yesterday's tweaks to the company's Simple Starter plans
, T-Mobile has made a few more changes, including expanding the company's Simple Choice family plan to 10 lines, as well as doubling your allotment of data if you add a tablet. T-Mobile previously capped their Simple Starter plans at 5 lines per account, charging $10 a month for each additional line.
The New York Post
claims that AT&T has struck a deal with the Department of Justice that would allow AT&T's $48.5 billion plan
to acquire DirecTV to move forward. The report fails to specify what precise conditions the DOJ will place on the deal, though it does suggest that regulators are leaning toward approval with DOJ approval coming as soon as October.
This weekend, the UK's largest broadband provider and former incumbent, BT, is expected to raise prices for millions of households. A hike at BT usually immediately precedes price rises at the other big providers but if that happens this time it'll mean a double whammy for internet and calls customers: the other members of the UK's big four – Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media – have all increased prices or announced upcoming increases for at least some customers over the past few weeks. story continues..
New Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure insisted last week that better prices would be one of his first priorities
, and the company this week has introduced their first attempt at that promise. According to a company announcement
, Sprint's new "Sprint Family Share Pack" allows a family to share 20 GB of data, unlimited text and voice for $100 a month under a limited-time promotion.
ViaSat is offering a new tier of satellite service they're promising will provide historically-heavily capped satellite broadband users a "virtually unlimited" service. According to a company announcement
, ViaSat's new "Freedom" plan provides users with "at least 150 GBs of monthly data without a strict data allowance" for $70 a month ($60 if you bundle phone service).
In June of last year Comcast announced
that the company was launching a new, Fon-like effort that involved new router firmware that turns your gateway into a publicly-accessible hotspot. More specifically, updated routers would now offer two signals: one being yours, and the other being a "xfinitywifi" SSID signal providing free Wi-Fi to other Comcast users in your general area.
It was just last week that we noted how Sprint CEO Dan Hesse seemed terrified of cutting prices to compete with T-Mobile
, expressing concern that if the company reduces prices -- they by proxy reduce revenues necessary to get the company's LTE network up to snuff. Hesse of course has since been informed he'll be fired from the new CEO spot
, with Sprint also announcing their intention to give up their pursuit of T-Mobile.
by spamster 06:01PM Thursday Aug 07 2014 story continues..
When I first came across FreedomPop
advertising their free services, I naturally figured that it was too good to be true. After all, how can a cell phone company be successful if they don't charge for their services? At the time, I didn't bother to look into it any further until I came across an ad for their reconditioned Wi-Fi router from Newegg for only $15, which included 500MB/month of usage for free.
There was a point in time when Cablevision was the cutting edge of broadband speeds, offering tiers unheard of at other ISPs. These days, Cablevision pretty content to simply raise rates right alongside their closer competitor Verizon FiOS
, without matching any of Verizon's faster speeds. Speaking to investors and analysts on when or if the company plans to hike speed tiers to match Verizon's recent fully symmetrical broadband offerings
, Cablevision engineering exec Wilt Hildenbrand stated that the company doesn't intend to get caught up in "speed contests"
“We currently do 35 [Mbps upstream on the company's most expensive tier]. We can go higher than that,” Wilt Hildenbrand, Cablevision’s long-time engineering exec and currently serving as a senior advisor, said. “Right now, we’re not going to chase that dog around the track of speed contests, but we have some bullets left in the gun."
That may include waiting for DOCSIS 3.1, which should provide a little more legroom on the upstream side of the equation.
Back in May TDS Telecom (see our user reviews
) became the latest company to throw its hat into the 1 Gbps broadband ring, offering 1 Gbps lines to residents of Hollis, New Hampshire. TDS Telecom now says they're expanding their 1 Gbps service into a second community: London, New Hampshire. According to a company announcement
, the 1 Gbps down, 400 Mbps offering can still be had for "less than $100 per month with a bundle." According to TDS, they plan to announce additional market deployments in the "coming weeks."
While Verizon's legal victory over the FCC did gut the agency's net neutrality rules, it kept some of the FCC's authority over ISPs intact -- specifically the agency's transparency rules
-- which require that ISPs be straightforward about the "network management practices, performance, and commercial terms" of their broadband services.
In a statement issued today
, the FCC "reminded" wireline and wireless ISPs alike that those rules are still intact and need to be adhered to, lest the agency lightly slap a wrist or two -- maybe.
It's no mystery that wireless carriers have pushed hard to get users on metered data plans, hoping to raise data revenues as the SMS and voice minute cash cows
head out to pasture. After introducing shared data plans carriers grandfathered unlimited usage users, but have used every trick in the book to get those users to switch to metered options.
Could the FCC soon have the ability to stop a large amount of regional sports network blackouts? Regional Sports Network (RSN) prices are out of control. Time Warner Cable wants every cable subscriber in Los Angeles to pay $3.84 in order to watch JUST
the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Verizon's shaking things up by making all of the company's FiOS broadband tiers symmetrical, bringing upstream speeds in line with downstream offerings. When Verizon FiOS originally came out the company's fiber-based offering was the cream of the crop, though Verizon has dulled their market-leading edge in recent years with a seemingly endless series of rate hikes and annoying fees
The House this week quietly passed a permanent ban on Internet access taxes
, making permanent the Internet Tax Freedom Act of 1998, which was extended in 2007. "This legislation prevents a surprise tax hike on Americans' critical services this fall,” said House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte. "It also maintains unfettered access to one of the most unique gateways to knowledge and engine of self-improvement in all of human history." Should the ban also pass the Senate, states will have to work harder than ever to get their pound of flesh via other online transaction taxes.
Verizon appears prepared to finally offer the company's prepaid data users a taste of faster LTE connectivity. Historically Verizon has only allowed prepaid users to function on the company's older EVDO/CDMA network, reserving LTE for more expensive postpaid plans. But a source tells Droid Life
that Verizon will be offering prepaid users access to LTE connectivity starting July 17. It's unclear if Verizon will be shaking up pricing with the shift, but it seems like we should get more details shortly.
Back in April Suddenlink users in our forums
noted that the cable operator was cooking up a faster 300 Mbps tier, though the company wasn't specific about price or upstream speeds. New information indicates
the new 300 Mbps down, 15 Mbps upstream, is being offered first in Leander and Pflugerville, Texas, with Georgetown, Texas getting the faster tier later this summer.
Midcontinent Communications (see our largely positive user reviews
) has announced they've doubled the speed of most of their available tiers
, and introduced a new 200 Mbps down, 20 Mbps tier. The new speeds will be available to most of the company's customers in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota (except for their most rural users), with pricing varying by region. "Recent extensive testing proved that a doubling of our speeds was achievable and even helped handle traffic more efficiently," the company said in a prepared statement. "With this change we feel we've anticipated and jumped ahead of demand." The company tells CED
they're bonding eight channels on the downstream and two on the upstream, and about 80% of modems in use are now DOCSIS 3.0.
In a letter the big four broadcast companies recently pushed Congress to investigate high cable prices
, pretending they have no role in soaring costs. In his own a letter
sent to House and Senate leaders, Suddenlink CEO Jerry Kent insists he would support opening up the cable industry’s billing practices only if programmers release details of their own wholesale pricing.
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