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Constant Cable Hikes About to Bite Cable Industry
Standard and Poor's Predicts VoIP Customer Erosion
by Karl Bode 08:29AM Friday Mar 23 2012
Even people who are generally a fan of milking consumers until they bleed have been warning the cable and broadcast industry that their practice of bi-annual relentless rate hikes is going to eventually come back and bite them on their digital posterior. Cable executives so far have paid a lot of lip service to these concerns, but their actions have shown a total unwillingness to actually compete on price, including so-called "discount tiers" that offer little value, come loaded with caveats, and are designed to simply upsell users to services many can't afford.

Another warning signal that something has to give with cable TV prices came this week courtesy of U.S. ratings agency Standard & Poor's, who argued that high cable prices aren't sustainable in this market. They also argue that cable companies are going to start seeing an erosion of VoIP customers who are looking to save money:
quote:
According to S&P, more than 80% of U.S. households have paid video service from either cable, satellite or telephone service providers. The average cable bill--at more than $135 a month--has become a bigger portion of disposable income, leaving cable companies more vulnerable to economic downturns, especially among lower-income consumers...S&P expects that growth in cable-telephone subscribers will fall off significantly and is likely to face the same trends as traditional wireline companies--namely a loss of residential customers to wireless and other alternative phone technologies.
About the only thing that will help subscriber growth would be a new housing boom, and that's not happening. To retain many of these more cost conscious customers cable operators will need to seriously compete on price, and that's something they've shown time and time again they're just not willing to do. The VoIP customer losses will be particularly troublesome to cable execs, since they worked so hard to become dominant players in the space (Comcast is now the nation's third largest phone company).

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topics flat nest 

jseymour

join:2009-12-11
Waterford, MI

No Comcast Phone Service For Us, Thankyouverymuch

We've been on Comcast Business HSI for a little over two years. I'm exceedingly pleased with the quality of the service and believe it's a good value. But Comcast phone service? We looked into it and chose to give it a pass. It didn't help that a neighbour down the street had switched and had had nothing but trouble. The big reason we stuck with SBC, however, was that Comcast phone service would've cost us at least as much as what our current landline is costing us, so there was no point. (Other than the sheer satisfaction to be had from eliminating SBC at home. Believe me: I considered it.)

The landline has become a bit of a white elephant, so I'm now thinking of either parking the number (it's a very cool number and I don't want to lose it) or porting it to a VoIP provider.

S_engineer
Premium
join:2007-05-16
Chicago, IL

Re: No Comcast Phone Service For Us, Thankyouverymuch

said by jseymour:

The landline has become a bit of a white elephant, so I'm now thinking of either parking the number (it's a very cool number and I don't want to lose it) or porting it to a VoIP provider.

So take your SBC # (the one you like), and port it to an additional line on a family plan with your cell carrier. I went from paying $50 a month to $9, and I don't have to worry about long distance. The only thing you'll have to do is buy a cheap phone...
My carrier (US cell) let me port the number to an old Samsung, so my price was zero!
--
"Thanks for the dance... and cut yourself a slice'a throat! "
- Curly (HOI POLLOI, 1935)

jseymour

join:2009-12-11
Waterford, MI

Re: No Comcast Phone Service For Us, Thankyouverymuch

said by S_engineer:

So take your SBC # (the one you like), and port it to an additional line on a family plan with your cell carrier. I went from paying $50 a month to $9, and I don't have to worry about long distance. The only thing you'll have to do is buy a cheap phone...
My carrier (US cell) let me port the number to an old Samsung, so my price was zero!

Hmmm... Thanks for the suggestion. I'll have to think about that. We have old dumb phones we could use for that purpose, too.

cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7
said by S_engineer:

So take your SBC # (the one you like), and port it to an additional line on a family plan with your cell carrier. I went from paying $50 a month to $9, and I don't have to worry about long distance. The only thing you'll have to do is buy a cheap phone...

I explored doing that. Currently we're on a 500 minute family plan with TMo with 5 "faves" for each of our line. In order to add a 3rd line, it would be $10 extra per month, with no extra minutes allocated to the account and I'd get a new 2 year agreement even if I brought my own phone. I could switch to an unlimited plan, but then my data would drop in half, I'd have a new 2 year contract, I'd be paying more for the plan, and my new line would then be $20.

So I just switched to a PAYG plan with Avneo. No problems so far, service is only a few bucks a month, and I have a lot of flexibility including using my android phones as sip devices if I wanted.

battleop

join:2005-09-28
00000
I hear lots of complaints about faxing, alarms, and credit card machines not working reliably over Comcast.
--
I do not, have not, and will not work for AT&T/Comcast/Verizon/Charter or similar sized company.

backfeed
is giving feedback

join:2002-12-16
Peru, IN
Reviews:
·Comcast

Re: No Comcast Phone Service For Us, Thankyouverymuch

said by battleop:

I hear lots of complaints about faxing, alarms, and credit card machines not working reliably over Comcast.

We have Comcast Biz with three lines at work, the alarm, fax, and credit card dialer have no issues. Way better than the old GTE/Verizon/Frontier. Sold us DSL three times each time at time of install saying that we were too far out. any fur us Comcast Biz has been a win win
--
There are 10 types of people. Those who can read Binary and those who cannot.

syslock
Premium
join:2007-02-03
La La Land
Reviews:
·WOW Internet and..
Landline for home if your hardly ever home is a waste of my money.
We use our cells because we are on the go so much.

Believe it or not, I have an older magic jack hooked to an HP thin
client box and it works very well across the Comcast HSI.

$20some dollars for an entire years worth of home service
fits a lot better in my budget.
Hanko

join:2001-12-28
Eatonville, WA

Re: No Comcast Phone Service For Us, Thankyouverymuch

I gave up my land line almost 8 years ago and went with Vonage. Recently though I found I was never using Vonage so I dropped them also and strictly have a Cell.

I talked with my parents about going strictly cell service but they brought up a very important point about why they keep a land line. 911 Service. If they call 911 on their land line the responders know immediately exactly where the call came from and they can respond very quickly. With a Cell out here in our rural area you would have to talk them through how to get to you. Their cell phones don't have GPS so locating them is a bit more difficult than just using the land line.

At their age seconds count when you need a paramedic.
Sammer

join:2005-12-22
Canonsburg, PA
Add me to the No Comcast phone service crowd. Comcast would have to charge me a lot less than they do now for Xfinity (infinitely expensive) Internet & Digital Starter Cable for me to even consider adding their phone service. If I could get better over the air reception I'd consider dropping the Digital Starter. Every month when the bill arrives I resent the fact they wasted all that money on NBC rather than holding the bills down.

FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

1 recommendation

A reduction in services Cable's big problem

If rates keep going up relentlessly, the immediate problem for cable companies won't be a total cutoff of service. It will be a sharp cutback in the services a customer will subscribe to. No premium channels. A reduction to basic cable only, supplemented by Internet video like Netflix. Dropping of DVR STBs. All these cutbacks would drop Cable's most profitable services without dropping the cable company's costs at all.
--
The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, I'm from the government and I'm here to help.
»www.politico.com/2012-election/


pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

Re: A reduction in services Cable's big problem

Indeed... I'm trying to make sure I have an antenna on my roof by May when my current deal with Comcast runs out.
--
"Net Neutrality" zealots - the people you can thank for your capped Internet service.

jseymour

join:2009-12-11
Waterford, MI
We've looked at subscription TV regularly over the years. Every time we do, we come to the conclusion that we just cannot justify the cost. So, for us, it's OTA TV, Netflix and DVD or Blu-ray rentals. Our monthly fixed cost for TV viewing: $10. That's it in months where we don't rent anything.
Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1
said by FFH5:

If rates keep going up relentlessly, the immediate problem for cable companies won't be a total cutoff of service. It will be a sharp cutback in the services a customer will subscribe to. No premium channels. A reduction to basic cable only, supplemented by Internet video like Netflix. Dropping of DVR STBs. All these cutbacks would drop Cable's most profitable services without dropping the cable company's costs at all.

Yep first thing to go for people these days is their premiums, then service tiers, then the phone service. Usually in this day in age the internet is the last service they drop, because it can do the jobs of the other two.
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports

pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

Meh

Unless you live in a place where cell phones don't work, I see no reason why any residential customer would pay extra for a glorified landline when most people have cell phones anyway.
--
"Net Neutrality" zealots - the people you can thank for your capped Internet service.

workablob

join:2004-06-09
Houston, TX
kudos:4
Reviews:
·Comcast

Re: Meh

said by pnh102:

Unless you live in a place where cell phones don't work, I see no reason why any residential customer would pay extra for a glorified landline when most people have cell phones anyway.

Ditto!

jimi419
Dadof4

join:2002-03-14
Round Lake, IL

Re: Meh

said by workablob:

said by pnh102:

Unless you live in a place where cell phones don't work, I see no reason why any residential customer would pay extra for a glorified landline when most people have cell phones anyway.

Ditto!

too many people like my mom who has and knows how to use her cell phone but refuses to give up the land line and lord knows i would love it if she got the death star out of her house and she has said that she just doesnt want to get rid of it but times they are changing and it wont be long until most people dont have a land line
chrad44
Premium
join:2003-09-28
Raleigh, NC

Re: Meh

I agree as well....i chalk my up to being too lazy...having to inform, schools, doctors office, etc...of new number is too much work
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·EarthLink
said by pnh102:

Unless you live in a place where cell phones don't work, I see no reason why any residential customer would pay extra for a glorified landline when most people have cell phones anyway.

Landlines are necessary to have intelligible conversations.

If your speech is the equivalent of SMS, if you never talk *with* someone, if you never listen to the messages you leave in a voicemail box from a cellphone to hear how terrible they sound, or if you just play phone-tag, you might not realize the need.

(HD vocoders via wireless broadband can potentially overcome the voice quality issue, if you have adequate signal strength, you're not throttled, and you can deal with the latency.)

Lagz
Premium
join:2000-09-03
The Rock

Re: Meh

said by elray:

said by pnh102:

Unless you live in a place where cell phones don't work, I see no reason why any residential customer would pay extra for a glorified landline when most people have cell phones anyway.

Landlines are necessary to have intelligible conversations.

If your speech is the equivalent of SMS, if you never talk *with* someone, if you never listen to the messages you leave in a voicemail box from a cellphone to hear how terrible they sound, or if you just play phone-tag, you might not realize the need.

(HD vocoders via wireless broadband can potentially overcome the voice quality issue, if you have adequate signal strength, you're not throttled, and you can deal with the latency.)

Absolutely true. I prefer talking to people via Ventrilo over mobile phones. This is the number one reason why I haven't left behind my landline. I live in a valley on the edge of a large city. Mobile companies have finally built a couple of towers out here, so I might eventually switch, but I still can't get over the quality. I never have to ask a person to repeat what they say unless they are using a mobile phone.
--
When somebody tells you nothing is impossible, ask him to dribble a football.

pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD
said by elray:

Landlines are necessary to have intelligible conversations.

Unless you are using a piss-poor quality cell phone or have terrible service this simply is not true at all. The fact that so many people get by just fine without landlines also testifies to this fact.
--
"Net Neutrality" zealots - the people you can thank for your capped Internet service.
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·EarthLink

Re: Meh

said by pnh102:

said by elray:

Landlines are necessary to have intelligible conversations.

Unless you are using a piss-poor quality cell phone or have terrible service this simply is not true at all. The fact that so many people get by just fine without landlines also testifies to this fact.

You affirm my point. Unlike you and the masses you reference, I don't want to "get by". I want to have a conversation.

In my experience, families don't lose their landlines, they most often switch to cable digital voice - driven by telco billing practices and lack of service/repair.

Part of our business covers a lot of family housing - every single household retains a home phone, regardless of income level.
chrad44
Premium
join:2003-09-28
Raleigh, NC

wow, nice timing

I have been with TWC for the last 16 years...no breaks. I have had the 'triple play', internet, phone and tv for at least 6-7 of those years. I've always had the internet and tv with them. So they have quite a bit of my $ and I've used quite a bit of their service. Today that changes. I am having uverse installed, strictly due to the cost of TWC. Those services with TWC are scheduled to go up an additional $80. I called the retention dept 4 times last weekend and that was the 'best' they could do. I also have dropped the voip service for a magic jack. Probably not as good as the TWC (or AT&T) phone service, but I refuse to pay 30-45 dollars a month for a phone that is seldom used. So in short...I fall right in line with this article. Wish me luck with the uverse....too many trees for Directv....

woody7
Premium
join:2000-10-13
Torrance, CA

Re: wow, nice timing

I have DSL because the cable co sux, I wish I could give up my land line, but.......................Could get uverse, will do when my Direct is up in 6 months.
--
BlooMe

morbo
Complete Your Transaction

join:2002-01-22
00000
Good luck.

lotusracer
Premium
join:1999-11-26
Moline, IL
Reviews:
·Mediacom

VoIP, tried it, dumped it

I tried my isp's VoIP, mostly as a way to reduce my bill for at least the 1 year "trial".... it was horridly unreliable and incredibly frustrating.

When the year was up, and my bill bumped, I dropped it like a "hot potato" and migrated to cell only.

It's been almost 2 years, no regrets, no downsides.
--
Humanity - The greatest natural disaster of all time.
AndyDufresne
Premium
join:2010-10-30
Chanhassen, MN

1 edit

Main reason Comcast and VZ are now buddies

One doesn't want to expand video service footprint and the other see the writing on the wall regarding voip. More and more people are just using their cell for home phone service. Lots of folks sign up for cdv just to get deal and then notice they never use their home phone service, so unless the home phone service is free is it really a deal if you don't use it?
Fast Turtle

join:2008-02-19
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

Drop when contract expires

I'd start dropping services right now but am locked into that 2 yr gauranty deal the TWC ran but once it runs out, I'll be cutting back to basic net service as the only thing we even use the damn TV for is local news and can get that from their website. Voip, it's a damn joke for the quality level we get. The only reason I went with it in the first place was bad landline that called 911 (line was shorting) and while the officer was there, the damn thing dialled 911 again. Thankfully we had cells and was able to get Verizon to disable our line and schedule a repair tech ASAP. For those looking at voip or cell only, keep in mind that the Telco is obligated by law to provide 911 service to all phones connected. In other words, keep a landline plugged in for 911 reasons - it'll work only for that even when power is out.

norbert26
Premium
join:2010-08-10
Warwick, RI

Re: Drop when contract expires

said by Fast Turtle:

keep in mind that the Telco is obligated by law to provide 911 service to all phones connected. In other words, keep a landline plugged in for 911 reasons - it'll work only for that even when power is out.

That law varies by state. This is not required in all states. In those where it applies the phone must be phone line powered such as an old corded trimline or desk top phone in the event of a power outage. Cordless phones and such will need a source of power such as from a UPS or genny.
axus

join:2001-06-18
Washington, DC
Local news looks good on an antenna That is of course if you can put an antenna outdoors, or you live near the broadcast.
ak3883

join:2005-08-20
Horsham, PA

Don't forget the VoIP FEES

I signed up for a year triple play bundle with Cox back in July. It was the same price for just internet/TV than it was with a triple play including phone, so I figured ok sure might as well. The VoIP itself carries about $8/month in fees, on top of the rest of the fees(not even including modem rental, Cox doesn't charge for that). Once July hits I'm dropping my VoIP without hestitation. Don't need it since my cell phone works fine(and it's just me in a small 2 bedroom place).

Interestingly enough of course once I got it working the only calls I got were telemarketers. I signed up for the Do Not Call list, and I haven't gotten a single call in 2012 so far.

Bran

@comcast.net

Ditched Landline, considered VoIP, went with StraightTalk

I ditched my land line almost 2 years ago and have used StraightTalk wireless ever since. $35/month 1000 minutes, 1000 txts, 30MB of data (which I don't use). My folks use the $45 unlimited plan, unlimited talk/text/data.

No contract and autobill each month. I laugh a little when I see my dad's iPhone AT&T bill each month, disturbing.

Morac
Cat god

join:2001-08-30
Riverside, NJ
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast

Dropped Comcast phone service a while ago

I had signed up for Comcast's triple play which included phone service. The phone service worked well, but once the 2 year bundle price expired, I couldn't justify spending $45 per month on home phone service.

I ended up switching to Ooma, which offers free VOIP service. It's not quite as good as Comcast's phone service (using a FAX is iffy at best and there's more latency), but it's usable and dependable which is all I care about.
--
The Comcast Disney Avatar has been retired.
blips

join:2001-04-17
Addison, IL

Re: Dropped Comcast phone service a while ago

I just moved my voice service from Comcast to Google voice. There is nothing like free. I rarely use my home phone anyway.

David
I start new work on
Premium,VIP
join:2002-05-30
Granite City, IL
kudos:101
Reviews:
·DIRECTV
·AT&T Midwest
·magicjack.com
·Google Voice

I still have the land line

But primarily keep it for on demand fax services and comes in quite handy during extended power outages. That and my long distance provider is rather cheap. Last month for voice service I paid only $27 for the land line and $2.95 for the long distance.

For a voice line I don't think I am doing bad. When we had the great saint louis power outage a while back, I could still use dial up internet and I had some of the fastest speeds I have ever had on dial up, and pages came up quick too. I figure that nice shiny router that may have peaked to 0.1% for the day was just sitting there..
--
If you have a topic in the direct forum please reply to it or a post of mine, I get a notification when you do this.
Koetting Ford, Granite City, illinois... YOU'RE FIRED!!
tmc8080

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

$35, including all fees, or bail!

Cable can only charge about $35 including all fees and taxes for full featured VOIP, because the 3rd party companies will do it for much, much less including a company called OOMA which sells a VOIP device that is either FREE or upto $13 per year in USF charges (depending on which device you buy, they have two kinds).

So, a 3rd party carrier PLUS a cell phone (activated or not) for emergencies: 911 serve better than getting gouged.

MTBikerChris
Premium
join:2001-08-28
Broomfield, CO
Reviews:
·Comcast

Cant X my CC VOIP !!

I Locked in to a 2 year triple play, I am at about 16 months in and they stuck me with a 10.00 HD price hike.. Hope when i move in may i can get a new deal from them !! I Wish i can dump my Phone service when i move but i know my cell service sucks where i am going due to that i lived there 18 months ago.. damm you CC !!

TransitMan
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-05
Dayton, OH
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

Re: Cant X my CC VOIP !!

You're locked into a 2 year triple play!
And they raised the price by $10.00 on you!
Guess what, they just nullified the contract by doing that.
A locked contract means NO PRICE INCREASE for the life of the contract.
I'd be checking on it real quick and then telling because they violated the terms of the contract - good-bye.
--
“I find your lack of faith disturbing.” - Darth Vader.

MTBikerChris
Premium
join:2001-08-28
Broomfield, CO

Re: Cant X my CC VOIP !!

Spoke with a rep and they said its only good for one year and the 2 years we can do what we want !! I was like That is not right !! He kind of said oh well. I am so going to x alot of my services when i move in a Month !!

Chester2

join:2000-10-17
Menlo Park, CA
Reviews:
·Comcast Business..

1 edit

Comcast Phone Too Expensive

When I signed up for Comcast Business Class Internet they tried hard to sell me their phone service. I still get at least one sales letter a week. The problem is that they offered me the bundled DEAL price of $25/month. I did a little shopping and got an equivalent VOIP plan for $6/month. Of course people are going to be jumping ship with that kind of price difference.
--
Craig
»CraigHarris.org My BLOG on Motorcycles, Computer Stuff & Deals.
scooper

join:2000-07-11
Youngsville, NC
kudos:2

Count me as part of the cheap crowd -

Back in Nov 2011, I fired Centurylink and DSL for TWC standard rate (10 M down, 1M up) and Call centric VoIP - total is about $38 - half what I ws paying Centurylink.

Cell only - not an option when cell doesn't work well inside (it hardly works outside the house...).

kara

@comcast.net

remember if outages phone service not work

cellphone good but not away good it signals suck. and voip comcast, vonage, magicjack whatever isp your using no service if outages or modem goes out bad signals. So if you need lan line just drop to basic line no adds for people that need call 911 or medical equipment that needs critical active phone line.
pawpaw

join:2004-05-05
Greenville, SC

$30 for everything

Here is my plan, cost per month:

Charter internet - $20
Google voice with Obi100 - $0
TV OTA (antenna in the attic) - $0
Netflix streaming - $9
Windows media center DVR - $0
Various streaming shows (Daily Show, South Park, etc.) - $0

Total bill less than $30

Why people spend $100's escapes me. Well, I don't need to watch live cable sport.
pawpaw

join:2004-05-05
Greenville, SC
Here is my plan, cost per month:

Charter internet - $20
Google voice with Obi100 - $0
TV OTA (antenna in the attic) - $0
Netflix streaming - $9
Windows media center DVR - $0
Various streaming shows (Daily Show, South Park, etc.) - $0

Total bill less than $30

Why people spend $100's escapes me. Well, I don't need to watch live cable sport.

Cable companies will probably take their cue from the MPAA/RIAA and start blaming their own customers.
keason
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Ann Arbor, MI
Reviews:
·Comcast Business..
Like most everyone here, we use VoIP & Cell. Comcast's current offerings really have problems:

Trust: Dishonest pricing. $25 promo phone with
'unlimited' calling is close to $40 after required $7 adapter, 911 fees, misc taxes and fees, etc..

Pricing: Ridiculous International rates. On Comcast UK landlines are 8c/min, India is 28c/min(!?) VoIP is 1-2c/min, and I can call and text internationally all I want for $15/mo on my cell carrier.

Convenience/Safety: Really not compatible with most people's lifestyle. If you have to have a cell anyway, what is the point of an expensive landline? Your cell battery lasts longer and has 911 everywhere you need it. Your VoIP has more features.

Quality: I have a femtocell which sounds better than a Comcast landline. G.711 VoIP service codec is better still.

That being said, the internet service has been excellent. ESPN3 is even included.