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Broadband Long Term Contracts
Verizon, Comcast and Brighthouse head to battle
by Karl Bode 09:10AM Thursday Dec 20 2007
The Herald Tribune takes a look at the competition between Comcast, Verizon and Brighthouse cable in Southwest Florida. Verizon is offering some locals a free 19" HDTV if they're willing to be locked into a two-year contract. Both Comcast and Brighthouse pitch their product as superior because they don't force customers to sign contracts with early termination fees, an idea migrated to the broadband sector from the wireless industry only recently.
quote:
Verizon's gifts do not have any real value, Comcast spokesman Bill Ferry said. "You really have to look at the fine print on this," Ferry said. "You have to sign a contract, and there's an early termination fee. The consumer who wants to back out will get hit with a fee, and when you add the cost of installation, they get their costs back."
Though we'll note that it's not just Verizon that's been employing long term contracts in order to reduce "churn." Comcast has been sending out this letter in some market trying to get customers to sign two-year contracts. Time Warner Cable also recently started offering discounts of up to 10% off triple play bundles if customers sign one or two-year contracts.

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inteller
Sociopaths always win.

join:2003-12-08
Tulsa, OK

i'll do contracts

because hell if it locks me into the same price for 2 years, I'll take it.

I think most places like Cox and comcast dont do it because they know they are the only choice and not having you in a contract means they can raise rates.
manhole0

join:2000-09-12
Modesto, CA

Re: i'll do contracts

There should be a law that requires ETF's to be prorated. So if you have to sign a 2-year contract with a $240 early termination fee, it should go down $10 for every month into your contract. Some of the cell phones companies have started (or will soon be) doing this, so should everyone else.
axus

join:2001-06-18
Washington, DC

Re: i'll do contracts

I don't think there needs to be a law, but more competition so that companies would compete on things like termination fees.

dslwanter
It's coming
Premium
join:2002-12-16
Mineral Ridge, OH

Oh Wow, just what I always wanted!

A 19 inch HDTV! I could put a tuner in my computer and make something probably even better.

Rob
In Deo speramus.
Premium
join:2001-08-25
Kendall, FL
kudos:3

1 recommendation

Contracts - One sided..

I have no problem signing contracts, but my issue is that all these major companies (especially wireless carriers) see contracts as one sided.

If the consumer wants to get out, they have to pay the ETF. But if the wireless carrier/corporation wants to get out, they can just simply.. get out.. or make changes to their terms of service that should be considered breach of contract as changes to the initial agreement have changed.

If the contracts were fair and balanced, as contracts should be, then it wouldn't be a problem. But they are so one sided, so twisted, so deceiving, that I refuse to sign any contract for tv, Internet, phone, wireless service. There's no need to.
--
www.rr.cx - My Blog
YourIP.US - It's Your IP .. and more!
Done_Posting
Shoot to kill
Premium
join:2003-08-22
Toledo, OH

Contracts = No biggie

This is a valid business practice. Even though it wouldn't seem so at first, this can be a good thing for consumers and ISP's alike. For the ISP, it can be nice knowing that you can count on X amount of revenue for the next year or two. This then benefits the consumer because the ISP is more likely to spend money on infrastructure and service upgrades because they know they're financially secure enough to do so.

Make sense?

- Tate

--
Happiness is an OC-48 in your basement...

wruckman
Ruckman.net

join:2007-10-25
Northwood, OH

Re: Contracts = No biggie

Makes perfect sense to me. Cellular providers have been doing for as long as i can remember. It helps to minimize impact from competitive companies because you don't have to worry about your month to month customers dropping your service for cheaper service from another provider. It also makes sure their customer base will not decrease as much for the next couple years. It keeps the income flowing for profit and network/technology improvements.

Now...about that OC-48 getting into my basement as well...
--
William Ruckman
»ruckman.net
Done_Posting
Shoot to kill
Premium
join:2003-08-22
Toledo, OH

Re: Contracts = No biggie

said by wruckman:

Now...about that OC-48 getting into my basement as well...
How about an OC-768 instead? Only $675,000 per month!

- Tate

--
Happiness is an OC-48 in your basement...

wruckman
Ruckman.net

join:2007-10-25
Northwood, OH

Re: Contracts = No biggie

*CREAMS*
tmc8080

join:2004-04-24
Brooklyn, NY
Reviews:
·ooma
·Optimum Online
·Verizon FiOS

beginnings of competition...

That 19" HDTV offer is not micro marketed to SW Florida.. that's nationally advertised everywhere FIOS-TV is available (w/ the 2 year deal). We've seen similar carrot & stick approaches with dialup access, cell phones, and voip service provided you sign up for a contract. Personally, I'd like a better deal upfront from Verizon to be locked in to a 2-year deal.. such as 1/2 price service or something similar to that.. after all, 2 years is a long time in broadband terms, especially if they're gonna booby trap it with an early termination fee

tommy13v
Premium
join:2002-02-15
Niskayuna NY

Re: beginnings of competition...

It's marketed in areas where you can get internet, phone and TV on one bill. It does not have to be FIOS TV, and FIOS it could also be DSL and Direct TV.

Chris 313
Come get some
Premium
join:2004-07-18
Houma, LA
kudos:1

Locked speed?

I'd do a contract for a locked price or money off. But does being in said contract also prevent you from gaining speed or equipment upgrades should something better then you have come along?

jtudor
Xm 60's On 6 Freak
Premium,MVM
join:2002-12-07
Morganton, NC

Re: Locked speed?

I will bet it does, because if you change your plan, you probably have to sign a new contract.
--
Best of luck

"Do, or Do not, there is no try!" Yoda


hopeflicker
Capitalism breeds greed
Premium
join:2003-04-03
Long Beach, CA
kudos:1

Re: Locked speed?

Contracts are nothing but a way to avoid competition.
It you can't compete with the competition, you LOCK your customers into contracts.

How nice is that?
--
People pray to God because they're told to.
magilladke

join:2005-12-07
Collegeville, PA

Re: Locked speed?

As fast as my cable bill keeps rising, I'd be happy to lock in todays rates!

jester121
Premium
join:2003-08-09
Lake Zurich, IL
Contracts are PART of competition, unless you're signing up customers at gunpoint. I'm not aware of any companies tricking customers into contracts; it is naturally part of the decision making process that customers use when deciding on service.

Just like with cell phones, if you don't want a contract go with a month-to-month service.

hopeflicker
Capitalism breeds greed
Premium
join:2003-04-03
Long Beach, CA
kudos:1

Re: Locked speed?

said by jester121:

Contracts are PART of competition, unless you're signing up customers at gunpoint.
Yeah, a part of competition that benefits only the company. You may say that the customer benefits with a good price but that is only temporary AND if you want out because of service issues, you cant. Unless of course, you pay the piper through the nose.
--
People pray to God because they're told to.

jester121
Premium
join:2003-08-09
Lake Zurich, IL

Re: Locked speed?

said by hopeflicker:

said by jester121:

Contracts are PART of competition, unless you're signing up customers at gunpoint.
Yeah, a part of competition that benefits only the company. You may say that the customer benefits with a good price but that is only temporary AND if you want out because of service issues, you cant. Unless of course, you pay the piper through the nose.
It's not that hard to get out of a contract if you really have service issues. Wanting to switch to another provider just to get the latest/greatest phone or some special new deal isn't your God-given right -- unless you pay the fee you agreed to.

Rob
In Deo speramus.
Premium
join:2001-08-25
Kendall, FL
kudos:3

1 edit
said by jester121:

I'm not aware of any companies tricking customers into contracts; it is naturally part of the decision making process that customers use when deciding on service.

Then you haven't followed the news lately. Sprint, and other wireless carriers got in trouble because they were extending customer contracts without telling the customer when they were making minor changes (such as adding/removing text messaging).

Wireless companies use contracts as a tactic tool, not as a business tool. Contracts, such as wireless carrier contracts, are a sign of desperation.

jester121
Premium
join:2003-08-09
Lake Zurich, IL

Re: Locked speed?

said by Rob:

Then you haven't followed the news lately. Sprint, and other wireless carriers got in trouble because they were extending customer contracts without telling the customer when they were making minor changes (such as adding/removing text messaging).

Wireless companies use contracts as a tactic tool, not as a business tool. Contracts, such as wireless carrier contracts, are a sign of desperation.
And Sprint and the others got spanked for it, because they broke the rules when they extended contracts.

I have no idea what you're babbling about in the second paragraph -- WTF is a tactic tool?

How is a contract a sign of desperation? Only recently was it possible to even get a prepaid or month-to-month mobile phone service; it's been a contract business since the beginning.
ashworth

join:2001-10-06
Pittsburgh, PA
With VZ all you need to do is keep the base service for 2yrs, which is....telco,lowest speed of data and basic TV...If you upgrade TV or Internet, it's just an add on to the original base pricing.

JammerMan79
Premium,VIP
join:2004-05-13
Prince George, BC
kudos:10

Problem?

Seriously.. what's the problem here?
The company I work for has been doing something similar to this for a couple years now...
Computers, TV's, camera's, Ipods.
The terms are usually 2 or 3 years and have cancellation fees (typically) of 240-480.00.

BUT the customer is getting a promo that's worth way more than that simply BECAUSE they're agreeing to stay with the company.

If they stay, then great, if they go, then they pay back some of the promo they don't loose anything either way.
--
I may work for, but do not necessarily represent the views and beliefs of TELUS Communications.

CylonRed
Premium,MVM
join:2000-07-06
Bloom County

With TWC in our area...

I would not even consider a contract - wayyy to up and down with the service. If service goes to crap then you are stuck or pay thru the nose. If they never know when people would leave the service then they would have a bigger incentive to make sure the service is solid (which TWC is not known for in my area)knowing what they will get via contracts and ETF's, I bet they will be VERY tempted to do less and rely more on the contract/ETF money coming in.

#1 reason why I don't switch plans on cell phones, I don't buy new cell phones (other than I don't need a new cellphone), and I have not switch from my ISP's plan. I fulfilled my ISP contract many years ago and I am off my phone contract by about a year.
--
Brian

Free health care is 100% a misnomer - it is not free and never will be free.
LowRider

join:2006-06-23
Douglasville, GA

Long Term Contracts are Bogus

With that i mean they could care less if you had to move in that year or even two year contract. People only stay in an area for around 5yrs then move nowadays. your stuck paying the fee.
TheMG
Premium
join:2007-09-04
Canada
kudos:3

19" HDTV?

What a joke, that's not a TV, that's a monitor at best.
Scoot_NJ

join:2007-09-25
Budd Lake, NJ

Re: 19" HDTV?

Actually, it IS a TV. Has both an NTSC and ATSC tuner as well as any input you could need.

Cheese
Premium
join:2003-10-26
Naples, FL
kudos:1

I live in SW Fl....

I only have Comcast or Embarf as an option

ud350

@verizon.net

moving

What happens if you move? Do you pay an ETF?