more cable TV and internet shenanigans

I got a phone call from my cable company recently; the person who called started rattling out a prepared script about some good news: they were upgrading my internet speed. I got suspicious pretty quickly, and, at some point in the script, she mentioned some additional fees. I assumed the call was a sneaky way of getting me to agree to upgrade my account, and cut her off to tell her that I was happy with my current service and didn’t want to upgrade. Then I hung up.

Afterward, I started to get a feeling that maybe I should have listened all the way through or at least tried to engage her in conversation and get some questions answered. Maybe it wasn’t a sneaky attempt to get me to agree to a service upgrade, but instead a sneaky way to try to brand a price increase as a service upgrade.

A few days later, I got an email from them, again with the “good news” that they were increasing my internet speed, to 60 Mbps. I read the fine print carefully, but there was no explicit mention of a price increase or any additional fees.

So I did some internet research, and I found a thread at DSL Reports that seemed to confirm that there would, indeed, be additional fees. So I then went and checked my most recent bill, and found the details in the fine print there. It looks like they’re going to start charging a $5/month modem rental fee, starting next month. And they’re signing me up for their “service protection plan,” for free until the end of the year, after which it’s probably $7/month. (I think I can drop that when the free period is up, at least.)

The most frustrating thing about all this is how they can’t just come out and tell you that they’re raising prices. It’s always a bunch of double-speak and shenanigans. The “service protection plan” is (of course) nonsense.  And the modem rental fee is also pretty ridiculous. (And they try to make it sound like they’re doing you a favor on it, by discounting it from the usual $10/month fee.) I might be able to dodge the modem rental fee by buying my own modem, but it’s not clear if they’d let you do that, or how much grief it would be to set up. (And I’m not really in a mood for a bunch of extra grief right now, so I’ll probably suck it up and pay the fee.)

Anyway, Cablevision/Altice just keeps getting worse, but I don’t really have any alternatives. I also found out recently that Verizon is retiring their old copper lines in my area, and that they probably wouldn’t be running new fiber into my apartment building. So I may lose the option of getting POTS from Verizon soon. (I know all the “young people” think that having a landline phone is an anachronism, but I kind of like having one.) So I might have to drop home phone service entirely, or switch to Optimum Voice, giving Altice yet another way to drain money out of my wallet. (Also, I had always assumed that Verizon FiOS was an option for me, for internet service, but from what I’m hearing, apparently it never was, since my apartment building isn’t wired for it. So I’m stuck with Altice for TV, Internet, and maybe phone service.)

Oh well. (Yes, I know that this was a pointless rant, but if I can’t rant on my own blog, where can I rant?)

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