Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Does it pay to purchase bundled cable, Internet, phone, wireless?


On Tuesday, May 12, 2009, consumer reporter Liz Crenshaw at NBC Washington (I’ve always thought she is much less “ideological” than ABC’s John Stossel) aired a story on bundled telecommunications services: Internet, phone, wireless, and cable television. In the DC area, Verizon may have the most deals, but there is also Comcast and Cox.

The link for the report is here. (I don’t know why NBC spells the name of its star reporter with small letters.) The gist of the matter is that bills still tend to vary a lot and be hard to figure out. And telecommunications companies are notorious for initial offers, that explode in price after six months or so. And it’s a lot of trouble to change companies if you depend on high speed for a home-based business.

Furthermore, in more remote areas there may not be choice at all.

A report by Mark Cooper from Consumers Union back in February 2004 accuses cable companies of stifling competition to gouge consumers, and that companies arrange their cable television offerings to manipulate competition away, link here. The story is called “CABLE PRICES RISING, ANTI-CONSUMER PRACTICES CONTINUE: Consumer Analysis Shows FCC Report Whitewashes Real Reason Behind Skyrocketing Bills”, link here. In 2004, rates were going up at three times the rate of inflation!

In my own circumstances, I have to look at how to make a secure wireless carrier work with Internet, blackberry, cell phone, and blogging activities. I haven't done the analysis yet of my own situation, but I will soon and report on it.

Picture: Inside the UFO at the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC. I suspect that space aliens would use telepathy for email.

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