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Want 100Mbps from Charter? Fork Over $200 for Activation/Upgrade Fee

charter-spectrumStop the Cap! reader Gabe, a Time Warner Cable customer, recently decided to upgrade his service to Charter’s fastest internet plan in his area — Ultra/100Mbps. That upgrade stopped dead in its tracks when Charter Communications informed him there is a mandatory $200 “activation” fee for customers selecting 100Mbps service.

We learned this upgrade fee is not new for Charter Communications’ existing customers. First implemented in 2012, Charter Communications claims the activation fee is set at a level commensurate with the value of having premium speed service.

“Ultra is a premium service which results in higher incremental network investments, equipment costs, and other operating expenses,” Charter Communications wrote in 2012. “In an effort to maintain reasonable monthly recurring service fees, we have implemented a higher installation fee for Ultra customers.”

We’ve taken a look to see if this fee can be waived and we found no instance where customers can avoid it. However, customers signing up for business service, which costs about the same as residential service, can subscribe to 100Mbps and face a $99 installation fee instead of $200 in most areas.

Fido Cable Leases Access from Current Cable Providers, Charges More Than They Do

(PRNewsFoto/Fido Cable)

(PRNewsFoto/Fido Cable)

You may soon have a choice of cable companies, but don’t expect any savings doing business with the competition.

South Carolina-based Sky Play, LLC has launched a new cable service it claims is available across the U.S., offering competitive broadband and later phone and television service.

The service, known as Fido Cable, is dependent on leasing access from cable companies including Cablevision-Altice, Charter-Bright House-Time Warner Cable, Cable One, Comcast, and Cox as well as telephone company AT&T.

“We believe that people deserve to select which internet company they would like to utilize as opposed to being stuck with one or two options of service from companies who constantly raise their rates and offer no thought of the customer they service,” said David Wheeler, vice president of Sky Play. “Fido Cable is available to everyone in every major city and surrounding cities throughout the U.S.”

The company’s claims about the aspirations of American cable subscribers may be true but after Stop the Cap! called the company and obtained price quotes, it is clear any savings doing business with Fido Cable are illusory at best. Fido has a single page website that needs work, including correcting “Cable Vision,” when it actually meant “Cablevision.” Details about service and pricing was scant, so we called the company to get prices for two large cable operators: Time Warner Cable and Charter.

The company claims it offers internet access today and will be offering voice services across its national footprint and television in “select cities.” For purposes of obtaining pricing information, we quickly learned our home city of Rochester, N.Y., is not select enough for Fido Cable.

charter twcFido Cable (which has no relationship with the Canadian prepaid mobile provider “Fido,” owned by Rogers Communications), says internet and voice plans start at $39.99 a month, but not for TWC or Charter customers.

In fact, Fido does not seem to offer any new customer promotional pricing. Their quoted rates were consistently higher than their cable company hosts charge their own customers. No wonder cable operators allowing Fido to compete using their systems are not breaking any sweat over the “competition.”

For instance, Fido charges a $120 installation and $15 modem fee for both Time Warner Cable and Charter customers. The representative claimed the modem fee was a one-time charge and customers were allowed to supply their own equipment. In comparison, both Charter and Time Warner Cable agreed to waive any installation fees for new customers. Time Warner Cable charges a $10 monthly modem rental fee and Charter includes the modem in the price of its service.

Fido Cable charges $65 a month for 15/1Mbps service. Time Warner Cable’s equivalent plan costs $59.99 a month for the service and modem rental (deduct $10 a month from TWC’s price if you buy your own modem). A 50Mbps plan from Fido costs $120 a month, but it’s $119 a month from Time Warner Cable (again, deduct $10 if you supply your own modem).

For Charter customers, a 60/4Mbps plan is priced $59.99 direct from Charter, but if you choose Fido Cable you will pay $5 more a month: $65. A 100/7Mbps plan from Charter is priced at $99.99, or you can pay Fido $105.

Here are more details about Fido internet plans we obtained today:

Time Warner Cable Service Areas

  • 10/1Mbps: $55
  • 15/1Mbps: $65
  • 50/5Mbps: $120

Charter Cable Service Areas

  • 60/4Mbps: $65
  • 80/5Mbps: $99
  • 100/7Mbps: $105

A 2-year price guarantee applies to all pricing.

Texas and California Time Warner Cable Customers Get Massive Channel Change Notice

Phillip Dampier September 8, 2016 Charter, Consumer News, Time Warner Cable 1 Comment

charter twcAs the Sept. 20 date for Charter’s introduction of new plans for Time Warner Cable customers in California looms, the Los Angeles Times published an impenetrable channel change notification applying to customers across San Diego and Los Angeles markets (the latter also being a significant service area for Charter all along).

We dare you to read it.

More accessible lists of channel changes were also published for Texas customers, and you can find them below the massive text box.

Legacy Charter customers will benefit because the smaller cable operator is taking advantage of the much larger volume discounts Time Warner Cable negotiated for both their customers and those belonging to Bright House Networks. That means you can eventually expect a lot more harmonization of channel lineups if you are an existing Charter customer, probably more in line with what Time Warner Cable customers have received all along. One interesting addition that may be coming back to Time Warner Cable customers is the former HDNet, now rebranded AXS TV. Time Warner Cable gave HDNet and HDNet Movies the boot back in May 2009 when contract negotiations broke down over price. In its place, Time Warner Cable added much cheaper networks like MavTV, The Outdoor Channel, RFD-TV and/or The Sportsman Channel.

There is speculation Charter chose Texas and Southern California first to introduce Charter Spectrum because the two cable companies have co-existed nearby in both states, sometimes operating in their own territories in the same metropolitan region. That may have made integration efforts easier than in states like New York, where Charter operates only a few forgettable cable systems, some now only being upgraded to support broadband.

Legal Notices: Time Warner Cable’s agreements with programmers and broadcasters to carry their services and stations routinely expire from time to time. We are usually able to obtain renewals or extensions of such agreements, but in order to comply with applicable regulations, we must inform you when an agreement is about to expire. The following agreements are due to expire soon, and we may be required to cease carriage of one or more of these services/stations in the near future. 5 StarMax East, ActionMax, Azteca America, Cinemax, Cinemax East, Cinemax On Demand, GMA LifeTV, GMA PinoyTV, HBO, HBO 2, HBO 2 East, HBO Comedy, HBO East, HBO Family, HBO Latino, HBO On Demand, HBO Signature, HBO Signature East, HBO Zone, Max Latino, MoreMax, MoreMax East, MovieMax East, Music Choice, Outdoor Channel, POP, TeleN, ThrillerMax, TV One, YouToo, KBEH DT7 Tele-Romantica, KEYT ABC. In addition, from time to time we make certain changes in the services that we offer in order to better serve our customers. The following changes are planned: On or around September 20, 2016 the following changes will be made. The following services will added: AXS TV, channel 299; One World Sports, channel 414; SonLife Broadcasting Network channel 470; Retroplex, channel 622; HD Net Movies, channel 640; Cable Noticias, channel 839; ULTRA Docu, channel 849; Tele El Salvador, channel 861; Super Canal, channel 870; Telemicro, channel 871; TV Dominicana, channel 872; WAPA America, channel 874; Antena 3 Internacional, channel 877; Ritmoson, channel 911; Telehit, channel 912; Ultra Fiesta, channel 915; Ultra Familia, channel 918; Ultra Kidz, channel 919; Semillitas, channel 922; BabyFirstTV SAP, channel 928; Baby TV SAP, channel 929; Nat Geo Mundo, channel 931; HITN, channel 933; Mexicanal, channel 935; El Garage TV, channel 936; Ultra Macho, channel 937; TBN Enlace, channel 946; Ultra Mex, channel 983; Ultra Cine, channel 984; Ultra Clasico, channel 985; Crime & Investigation, channel 137; pivot, channel 115; Family Net, channel 468; MoviePlex, channel 620; IndiePlex, channel 621; RFD-TV, channel 297; Lifetime Real Women, channel 174; Military History Channel, channel 141. Additionally, in Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach & Redondo Beach the following services will be added on the channel number listed. Estudio 5 842, Multimedios 843, Teleformula 845, Sur Peru 853, TV Chile 855, Caracol 856, Nuestra Tele 857, Centroamerica TV 860, Ecuavisa Internacional 865, TV Venezuela 867, Bandamax 910, Discovery Familia 924, AYM Sports 962, Cine Mexicano 972, De Pelicula Clasico 979, De Pelicula 980 and Viendo Movies 982. The following services will be added on the additional channel number listed. Each will also remain on the current channel number. Air Force Village West – Lakeview – Perris; Chino – Pomona – San Bernardino County; March Air Force Base & Moreno Valley and Hemet: Animal Planet 10, NBCSN 34, FOX Sports 1 50, Investigation Discovery 75, Velocity 79, Fox Business Network 86, Disney Junior 87, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, TCM 94, BBC America 95, GSN 96 and SEC Network 97. Beaumont-Redlands-East San Bernardino and Rialto: Animal Planet 10, NBCSN 34, FOX Sports 1 50, Investigation Discovery 75, Velocity 79, Fox Business Network 86, Disney Junior 87, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, TCM 94, BBC America 95, GSN 96, SEC Network 97, Oxygen 98 and LMN 99. Temecula: Animal Planet 10, NBCSN 34, FOX Sports 1 50, Investigation Discovery 75, Velocity 79, Fox Business Network 86, Disney Junior 87, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, TCM 94, BBC America 95, GSN 96 and SEC Network 97. San Bernardino – Ontario: Animal Planet 10, NBCSN 34, FOX Sports 1 50, Investigation Discovery 75, Velocity 79, Fox Business Network 86, Disney Junior 87, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, TCM 94, BBC America 95, SEC Network 97 and Oxygen 98. San Gabriel Valley: Animal Planet 10, NBCSN 31, Investigation Discovery 52, FOX Sports 1 54, Velocity 79, Fox Business Network 80, Disney Junior 87, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, BBC America 95, SEC Network 97 and GSN 98. Brea, La Habra, La Habra Heights, Yorba Linda: Animal Planet 10, NBCSN 31, Investigation Discovery 52, FOX Sports 1 54, Velocity 79, Fox Business Network 80, Disney Junior 87, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, BBC America 95 and SEC Network 97. Anaheim: Animal Planet 10, NBCSN 31, Investigation Discovery 52, FOX Sports 1 54, Velocity 79, Fox Business Network 80, Disney Junior 87, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, GSN 94, BBC America 95, SEC Network 97 and TCM 99. Buena Park, Fullerton, Newport Beach, Santa Ana: Animal Planet 10, NBCSN 20, Investigation Discovery 52, FOX Sports 1 54, Velocity 79, Fox Business Network 80, Disney Junior 87, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93 and SEC Network 94. Antelope Valley & Edwards Air Force Base: NBCSN 35, Investigation Discovery 76, Velocity 79, Fox Business Network 86, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, BBC America 95, FOX Sports 1 96, SEC Network 97 and Animal Planet 98. Santa Clarita (East) & Tujunga: Investigation Discovery 44, NBCSN 59, National Geographic 68, FOX Sports 1 78, Velocity 79, Fox Business Network 86, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, BBC America 95, SEC Network 97 and Animal Planet 98. Beverly Hills: WGN America 16, NBCSN 69, Investigation Discovery 95, Velocity 79, Fox Business Network 86, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, BBC America 95, FOX Sports 1 96, SEC Network 97 and Animal Planet 98. Boyle Heights, East Los Angeles: Animal Planet 10, Investigation Discovery 34, NBCSN 70, Velocity 79, Fox Business Network 86, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, FOX Sports 1 95, BBC America 96, SEC Network 97 and GSN 98. Calabasas: Animal Planet 10, Investigation Discovery 34, NBCSN 50, Disney Junior 69, Velocity 79, Fox Business Network 86, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, FOX Sports 1 95, BBC America 96, SEC Network 97 and GSN 98. City of Los Angeles and Marina Del Rey: Animal Planet 10, WGN America 16, Investigation Discovery 34, NBCSN 69, Velocity 79, Fox Business Network 86, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, FOX Sports 1 95, BBC America 96 and SEC Network 97. East San Fernando Valley: Animal Planet 10, WGN America 16, Investigation Discovery 34, Oxygen 52, NBCSN 69, Velocity 79, Fox Business Network 86, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, FOX Sports 1 95, BBC America 96 and SEC Network 98. West Hollywood: WGN America 16, Animal Planet 20, NBCSN 69, Velocity 79, Fox Business Network 86, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, FOX Sports 1 95, SEC Network 96 and Investigation Discovery 98. Agoura-Moorpark-Santa Paula: Animal Planet 12, Investigation Discovery 50, NBCSN 69, Velocity 79, Fox Business Network 86, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, FOX Sports 1 95, BBC America 96, Oxygen 97 and SEC Network 99. Camarillo, Newbury Park, Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley: Animal Planet 12, Investigation Discovery 50, NBCSN 69, Velocity 79, Fox Business Network 86, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, Disney Junior 94, FOX Sports 1 95, BBC America 96, Oxygen 97 and SEC Network 99. Oxnard & Port Hueneme: Animal Planet 12, Investigation Discovery 50, NBCSN 69, Velocity 79, Fox Business Network 86, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, FOX Sports 1 94, SEC Network 96 and Oxygen 97. Ventura: Animal Planet 12, FOX Sports 1 44, Investigation Discovery 50, NBCSN 69, Velocity 79, Fox Business Network 86, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, Disney Junior 94, SEC Network 99, BBC America 96, and Oxygen 97. Hollywood – Westchester and Inglewood: Investigation Discovery 71, National Geographic 75, Animal Planet 78, Fox Business Network 86, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, FOX Sports 1 95, NBCSN 96, Velocity 97 and SEC Network 98. Covina, Pomona, Corona & Riverside County: Fox Business 35, Investigation Discovery 71, National Geographic 75, Animal Planet 78, BBC America 86, Disney Junior 87, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, FOX Sports 1 95, NBCSN 96, Velocity 97, SEC Network 98 and GSN on 99. Claremont: Cartoon Network 57, Investigation Discovery 71, National Geographic 75, Animal Planet 78, Fox Business Network 86, BBC America 87, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, FOX Sports 1 95, NBCSN 96, Velocity 97 and SEC Network 98. Homeland & Romoland: Fox Business 35, Investigation Discovery 71, National Geographic 75, Animal Planet 78, BBC America 86, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, TCM 94, FOX Sports 1 95, NBCSN 96, Velocity 97, SEC Network 98 and GSN on 99. Costa Mesa: Investigation Discovery 71, National Geographic 75, Animal Planet 78, Fox Business Network 86, BBC America 87, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, FOX Sports 1 95, NBCSN 96, Velocity 97 and SEC Network 98. Tustin: Fox Business 35, Investigation Discovery 71, National Geographic 75, Animal Planet 78, BBC America 86, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, GSN 94, FOX Sports 1 95, NBCSN 96, Velocity 97 and SEC Network 98. Artesia: Cartoon Network 57, Investigation Discovery 71, National Geographic 75, Fox Business Network 86, Animal Planet 87, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, FOX Sports 1 95, NBCSN 96, Velocity 97 and SEC Network 98. Bell & Cudahy: Fox Business 35, Investigation Discovery 71, National Geographic 75, Animal Planet 78, BBC America 86, Disney Junior 87, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, FOX Sports 1 95, NBCSN 96, Velocity 97 and SEC Network 98. Carson: Fox Business Network 36, Investigation Discovery 71, National Geographic 75, Animal Planet 78, BBC America 86, Disney Junior 87, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, FOX Sports 1 95, NBCSN 96, Velocity 97 and SEC Network 98. Compton, Athens, Florence & Willowbrook: Investigation Discovery 71, National Geographic 75, Animal Planet 78, Fox Business Network 86, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, FOX Sports 1 95, NBCSN 96 and Velocity 97. Cypress & La Palma: Investigation Discovery 71, National Geographic 75, Animal Planet 78, Fox Business Network 86, SEC Network 87, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, FOX Sports 1 95, NBCSN 96 and Velocity 97. Harbor, Lomita: Harbor City, San Pedro, Wilmington: Investigation Discovery 71, National Geographic 75, Animal Planet 78, Fox Business Network 86, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, FOX Sports 1 95, NBCSN 96 and Velocity 97. Hawaiian Gardens – Southeast Cities: Investigation Discovery 71, National Geographic 75, Animal Planet 78, Fox Business Network 86, Hallmark Channel 88, BBC America 87, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, FOX Sports 1 95, NBCSN 96, Velocity 97 and SEC Network 98. Lakewood: Investigation Discovery 71, National Geographic 75, Animal Planet 78, Fox Business Network 86, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, FOX Sports 1 95, Velocity 97 and NBCSN 98. South El Monte: Fox Business Network 35, Investigation Discovery 71, National Geographic 75, Animal Planet 78, Disney Junior 87, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, FOX Sports 1 95, NBCSN 96, SEC Network 98 and GSN 99. Canyon Country and Santa Clarita & Stevenson Ranch: NBCSN 34, Fox Business Network 66, Investigation Discovery 67, National Geographic 69, Animal Planet 76, FOX Sports 1 78, Velocity 79, SEC Network 80, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, Disney Junior 95, BBC America 96 and GSN 97. San Fernando: NBCSN 34, WGN America 35, Fox Business Network 66, Investigation Discovery 67, National Geographic 69, Animal Planet 76, FOX Sports 1 78, Velocity 79, SEC Network 80, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, Disney Junior 95, BBC America 96 and GSN 97. West Valley: WGN America 35, Fox Business Network 66, Investigation Discovery 67, National Geographic 69, Animal Planet 76, FOX Sports 1 78, Velocity 79, NBCSN 80, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, and BBC America 96. Orange County: National Geographic 72, Investigation Discovery 73, GSN 74, Animal Planet 75, SEC Network 76, NBCSN 77, Velocity 78, FOX Sports 1 79, Fox Business Network 86, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92 and FX Movie Channel 93. Torrance: WGN America 16, Investigation Discovery 66, Animal Planet 71, National Geographic 72, NBCSN 77, FOX Sports 1 79, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91 and Velocity 92. South Bay: WGN America 16, Investigation Discovery 66, Animal Planet 71, National Geographic 72, NBCSN 77, FOX Sports 1 79, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, Velocity 92 and FX Movie Channel. San Marino & South Pasadena: WGN America 16, Investigation Discovery 59, National Geographic 72, Animal Planet 75,NBCSN 77, Velocity 78, FOX Sports 1 79, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93 and Fox Business Network 95. Santa Monica: WGN America 16, Investigation Discovery 59, Animal Planet 71, NBCSN 75, Velocity 79, Fox Business Network 80, Fox Business Network 86, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, BBC America 95, FOX Sports 1 95, BBC America 96, SEC Network 96 and SEC Network 97. Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach & Redondo Beach: WGN America 20, Investigation Discovery 54, Animal Planet 61, NBCSN 69, FOX Sports 1 72, Velocity 77, Fox Business Network 86, Hallmark Channel 88, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries 89, INSP 90, OWN 91, WE tv 92, FX Movie Channel 93, BBC America 95, Disney Junior 96 and GSN 97. EVINE Live will move from channel 15 to channel 194 in Beverly Hills, Boyle Heights, East Los Angeles, Calabasas, City of Los Angeles, East San Fernando Valley, Marina Del Rey and West Hollywood. It will move from 16 to 194 in South Bay and Torrance. It will move from 20 to 194 in Air Force Village West – Lakeview – Perris; Beaumont-Redlands-East San Bernardino; Bradbury, Glendora, La Verna, San Dimas; Chino – Pomona – San Bernardino County; Hemet – Temecula; March Air Force Base & Moreno Valley; Rialto; San Bernardino – Ontario and San Gabriel Valley. It will move from 24 to 194 in San Marino & South Pasadena. It will move from 28 to 194 in Artesia, Bell & Cudahy, Carson, Cypress & La Palma, Hawaiian Gardens – Southeast Cities and South El Monte. It will move from 29 to 194 in Compton, Athens, Florence & Willowbrook and South Los Angeles. It will move from 31 to 194 in Harbor, Lomita, Harbor City, San Pedro, Wilmington; Hollywood – Westchester and Inglewood. It will move from 33 to 194 in Lakewood, Santa Clarita (East) and Tujunga. It will move from 36 to 194 in Agoura-Moorpark-Santa Paula; Camarillo, Newbury Park, Thousand Oaks; Claremont; Costa Mesa; Covina, Pomona, Corona & Riverside County; Homeland & Romoland; Oxnard & Port Hueneme; Simi Valley; Tustin and Ventura. It will move from 37 to 194 in Orange County. It will move from 38 to 194 in Antelope Valley & Edwards Air Force Base. It will move from 39 to 194 in Anaheim, Brea, La Habra, La Habra Heights, Yorba Linda and in Buena Park, Fullerton, Newport Beach, Santa Ana. It will move from 42 to 194 in Canyon Country, Santa Clarita, Stevenson Ranch; San Fernando and West Valley. It will move from 45 to 194 in Santa Monica. It will move from 49 to 194 in Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach & Redondo Beach. It will also remain on 487 in all lineups. HSN will move from 8 and 81 to 176 in Artesia; Bell & Cudahy; Carson; Claremont; Compton, Athens, Florence & Willowbrook; Costa Mesa; Covina, Pomona, Corona & Riverside County; Cypress & La Palma; Harbor, Lomita, Harbor City, San Pedro, Wilmington; Hawaiian Gardens – Southeast Cities; Hollywood – Westchester; Homeland & Romoland; Inglewood; Lakewood; South El Monte; South Los Angeles, Santa Clarita (East), Tujunga and Tustin. In all other lineups it will move from 81 to 176. It will also remain on 483 in all lineups. QVC will move from 6 to 159 in Antelope Valley & Edwards Air Force Base; Artesia; Bell & Cudahy; Carson; Claremont; Compton, Athens, Florence & Willowbrook; Costa Mesa; Covina, Pomona, Corona & Riverside County; Cypress & La Palma; Harbor, Lomita, Harbor City, San Pedro, Wilmington; Hawaiian Gardens – Southeast Cities; Hollywood – Westchester; Homeland & Romoland; Inglewood; Lakewood; South El Monte; South Los Angeles and Tustin. It will move from 14 to 159 in Agoura-Moorpark-Santa Paula; Air Force Village West – Lakeview – Perris; Anaheim; Beaumont-Redlands-East San Bernardino; Beverly Hills; Boyle Heights, East Los Angeles; Bradbury, Glendora, La Verna, San Dimas; Brea, La Habra, La Habra Heights, Yorba Linda; Buena Park, Fullerton, Newport Beach, Santa Ana; Calabasas; Camarillo, Newbury Park, Thousand Oaks; Chino – Pomona – San Bernardino County; City of Los Angeles; East San Fernando Valley; Hemet – Temecula; Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach & Redondo Beach; March Air Force Base & Moreno Valley; Marina Del Rey; Oxnard & Port Hueneme; Rialto; San Bernardino – Ontario; San Gabriel Valley; Santa Monica; Simi Valley, Ventura and West Hollywood. It will move from 24 to 159 in Santa Clarita (East) and Tujunga. It will move from 39 to 159 in Canyon Country, Santa Clarita, Stevenson Ranch. It will move from 48 to 159 in Orange County. It will move from 51 to 159 in South Bay and Torrance. It will move from 68 to 159 in San Marino & South Pasadena. It will move from 98 to 159 in San Fernando and West Valley. It will also remain on 480 in all lineups. Jewelry Television will move from 83 to 188 in all lineups. I will also remain on channel 499.

Texas customers: Selected channel notification announcements begin after the jump.
… Continue Reading

Time Warner Cable/Bright House Customers: Here is Charter/Spectrum’s Promotional Price List

charter-twc-bhThanks to one of our readers who also happens to be a TWC employee, here is the latest update to Charter/Spectrum’s list of first year promotions, taking effect in California and Texas (9/20) this month.

We expect it will be rolling out to other TWC and BH regions over the next few months. Unless you are compelled to change packages, if you are on a current Time Warner Cable or Bright House promotion or retention deal, we recommend you keep it until it expires. You can then enroll in one of these promotions, almost certainly at these prices, extending the length of your savings.

We expect Charter’s retention department to deliver a tougher line on retention packages and promotions than Time Warner Cable gave customers. Once these promotional prices expire, your rates will step up each year for two years thereafter until you reach the “rack rate” — Charter’s regular pricing. Your ability to secure new customer pricing again will probably require you to bounce between providers or cancel/come back as a new customer. I am told by long-time Charter customers that Charter’s retention prices are usually not as good as new customer pricing.

We have some corrections to our earlier coverage on this last month: broadband-only customers will pay a promotional rate of $39.99 a month for the first year for 60Mbps service, $79.99 a month for 100Mbps service (100Mbps or 300Mbps in existing TWC Maxx territories), not the $60/99 rack rate. We have received word Earthlink will continue to be another option for customers to consider for broadband service, which can be a good way to secure extended promotional pricing. Another change: phone service is now an extra $10 a month, not $20, as part of a triple play package. We notice Charter only lists free calling to U.S. numbers on this sheet. Time Warner Cable includes free calls to Canada, Mexico, China, Hong Kong, India, The EU, Norway and U.S. territories. We are unsure if this represents an omission or a downgrade. Also, the Wi-Fi fee is waived for Spectrum Ultra, which corrects our earlier piece where we thought this fee would apply to both broadband packages. Multi-DVR service pricing is still confusing on this chart. We’ve heard Charter intends to ditch TWC’s Whole House DVR service and give subscribers the option of multiple standalone DVR units instead. DVR pricing is: $4.99 for each DVR box + an $11.99 DVR service fee (if you have only one DVR). If you want multiple DVRs, they are each $4.99 a month with an all-inclusive monthly service fee of $19.99, regardless of how many extra DVR boxes you rent.

Obviously, we will be looking for money-saving opportunities for our readers once we get a better handle on Charter’s way of doing business.

spectrum-promo

Cablevision, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Customers Can Keep Wi-Fi Roaming

cablewifiComcast has confirmed new Altice USA and Charter Communications customers that used to subscribe to Cablevision, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks will be able to continue accessing the free nationwide Cable WiFi roaming service, even though Altice and Charter are not members of the consortium that runs it.

“The Cable WiFi consortium remains in place following the recent merger and acquisitions activity,” a Comcast spokesperson told FierceCable. “Subscribers of each [company] that were previously entitled to use the CableWiFi hotspots continue to enjoy access. Access points that were made available by each [affected cable operator] continue to provide CableWiFi service.”

The network allows any Comcast, Cablevision/Altice USA, Charter/Time Warner Cable, Charter/Bright House Networks, and Cox Communications broadband customer to access a network of 500,000 nationwide Wi-Fi hotspots run by the five cable operators. Customers will know if they are in range of a hotspot by finding CableWiFi as an available connection. Broadband subscribers can log in using the same credentials they use when logging into their cable operator’s website.

It is unknown if Charter Communications or Altice USA will join the consortium directly, which would expand the network to cover legacy Charter customers and those signed up with Suddenlink, another Altice-owned operator.

Updated: Charter’s Plans for Time Warner Cable, Bright House Customers Apparently Leaked

charter twc bhUpdated 9/7/2016: Please check our latest coverage on promotional packages for Bright House and Time Warner Cable customers that are being introduced in September 2016 by new parent company Charter Communications. Some of the prices reflected below are now out of date! 

Charter’s plans for Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks customers are now potentially clearer thanks to the apparent leak of several informational slides from a presentation given to employees to familiarize them with Charter’s forthcoming service plans.

A reader of DSL Reports in California shared what purports to be informational slides from a company training course. Los Angeles is among the first markets to be offered the new Charter/Spectrum service plans, likely to arrive as early as mid-September.

We’ve condensed the information down into a more readable format to give you an idea (subject to change, of course) about Charter’s pricing and plans. Existing customers may not need to give up their current plans right away, and some customers may not want to. Charter has recognized Time Warner Cable Maxx’s network upgrades in its plans and pricing, which means customers already upgraded for Maxx service will get better value from Charter’s plans than those customers who never made the upgrade list before Time Warner Cable was sold.

Keep in mind Charter will start by offering all “New Charter” customers a “new customer” promotion, priced low the first year and then increasing incrementally in price during the second and third years. Year three pricing will be equivalent to Charter’s regular price, which will be substantially higher than customers on Time Warner Cable customer retention plans have paid. Charter’s service plans offer improved broadband speeds, but at a significantly higher price. Standalone broadband customers in particular will feel an immediate sting. Charter’s entry-level price for most customers is $59.99 for 60Mbps, about $25 more than Time Warner Cable’s promotional rate for Standard 15/1Mbps service, which has been selling for about $35/mo for the first year. Charter will point out that it includes a cable modem for free while Time Warner Cable charged $10 a month, but that offers no solace to customers who have purchased their own equipment.

Please note these plans and prices have not been officially confirmed by Charter. In fact, we would not be surprised to see some pricing changes before the plans are officially available.

TELEVISION

spectrum selectThere are big changes in store from Charter. First, the company will end distribution and support for Digital Transport Adapters (DTAs) — the small boxes designed for older analog-only TV sets. Charter expects you to have a traditional set-top box on every cable-equipped TV in the house. Second, it seems Whole House DVR service is being discontinued. Charter prefers the alternative of placing DVR boxes on each set where you want to record and watch TV shows. There is a significant cost for Time Warner Cable to install Whole House DVR service and it involves a technician coming to your home. Charter seems to want to cut truck roll expenses, and traditional DVR boxes are easy for customers to install themselves.

DVR pricing is still confusing for customers. A single DVR box is priced at $4.99 for the equipment + an $11.99 DVR service fee. DVR’s 2-4 cost $4.99 per box + a $19.99 DVR service fee. We are not sure if the $19.99 inclusively covers all DVR boxes in the home or if that is charged for each additional DVR. (Update: STC reader Ricardo reports the $19.99 fee is inclusive, so it is only charged once regardless of how many extra DVRs you have.)

For the first year, traditional set-top boxes for New Charter customers are a bargain at $4.99/mo. Legacy Charter customers pay $2 more, and we predict you will pay more as well after the first year, but the equipment fees are less than what Time Warner Cable charged.

Customers will choose from three plans: Select, Silver, or Gold:

  • Select: 125+ channels (HD included), Spectrum App (comparable to TWC TV app), 10,000+ On Demand Library ($64.99)
  • Silver: 175+ channels (HD included), Spectrum App, On Demand, HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, NFL Network ($84.99)
  • Gold: 200+ channels (HD included), Spectrum App, On Demand, premiums shown above + TMC, Starz, Encore, Epix, NFL Redzone ($104.99)

Charter’s pricing is built to encourage customers to bundle multiple services together, because substantial discounts are provided, especially when combining TV and internet service.

INTERNET

(Image courtesy of Tech_Guy 88/DSL Reports)

(All presentation slide images courtesy of Tech_Guy 88/DSL Reports)

Charter moves to just two tiers of service available to the public (except in New York where TWC’s $14.99 Everyday Low Price Internet continues to be an option for the next two years — although it has been removed from TWC’s website) and standalone broadband pricing is considerably more expensive with Charter than with Time Warner Cable.

Perhaps special promotional offers will bring standalone internet prices closer to the $34.95-39.95 most new customers have gotten for Time Warner’s Standard Service (15/1Mbps) for years. We expect most customers will be more sensitive to price vs. speed and standalone internet at these prices will be a shock. We are not certain if Earthlink will continue to be an alternative option.

Upload speeds in non-Maxx areas are conservative, if these slides are accurate, topping out at just 5Mbps. This still leaves Charter as one of the slower U.S. providers.

In TWC Non-Maxx Areas (maximum TWC speed now 50/5Mbps):

  • Spectrum Internet 60/5Mbps: Standalone $59.99/mo or $29.99 as part of a triple play package (first year promo price), $59.99 standalone or $53.99 as part of a bundle (regular price);
  • Spectrum Ultra 100/5Mbps: Standalone $119.99/mo or $99.99 as part of bundled package (first year promo price), $119.99 standalone or $113.99 as part of a bundle (regular price).

In TWC Maxx Territories (maximum speed now 300Mbps):

  • Spectrum Internet 100/10Mbps: Standalone $59.99/mo or $29.99 as part of a triple play package (first year promo price), $59.99 standalone or $53.99 as part of a bundle (regular price);
  • Spectrum Ultra 300/20Mbps: Standalone $119.99/mo or $99.99 as part of bundled package (first year promo price), $119.99 standalone or $113.99 as part of a bundle (regular price)

Spectrum Wi-Fi, for those without their own routers, can be added to any internet plan for a $9.99 setup charge and $5 a month.

spectrum assistCharter’s discount plan for the income-challenged carries the usual restrictions. The most unconscionable effectively forces current Charter customers to go without internet access for 60 days before they can enroll in Spectrum Internet Assist. They also must not owe any past due balance to Charter.

Assuming you qualify (eligible for the National School Lunch Program and senior citizens 65 years and older eligible for the federal Supplemental Security Income program), $14.99 will get you up to 30/4Mbps, plus an extra $5 a month if you want Charter to supply a Wi-Fi enabled router. The usual $9.99 activation fee is waived. Self-installation is free. If they have to send a truck to your home, the prevailing standard installation rate will apply. This is the only level of service Charter sells that will not require a credit check.

PHONE

Time Warner’s phone service had been promoted for years at $10 a month as part of a double-play or triple-play bundle. Charter’s triple play bundle pricing seems to show the price for phone service will now be effectively $20 a month.

Charter’s digital phone service has never seemed to be a marketing priority for Charter in its legacy service areas, and will likely be treated as an afterthought going forward. No further information about any service or calling area changes from what Time Warner Cable offered is available yet.

Charter Spending Its Money Renaming Charlotte’s Time Warner Cable Arena After Itself

Phillip Dampier August 17, 2016 Charter, Consumer News, Time Warner Cable 1 Comment

TIME_WARNER_CABLE_ARENA006Time Warner Cable Arena is no more.

After Charter Communications completed its acquisition of TWC, it discovered it had work to do rebranding all-things-TWC, including the Charlotte, N.C., sports arena that is home to the Charlotte Hornets.

Charter will be spending its time and resources rechristening the arena “Spectrum Center” in time for the new NBA season starting in late October. Charter’s suite of products is branded “Spectrum,” much the same way Comcast calls many of its products “XFINITY.”

The Charlotte-arena originally opened in 2005 and Time Warner Cable acquired the naming rights back in 2008.

 

Meet North Carolina’s Sen. Thom Tillis (R-ALEC/Time Warner Cable)

Tillis was honored in 2011 as ALEC's "Legislator of the Year" and received an undisclosed cash reward.

Tillis was honored in 2011 as ALEC’s “Legislator of the Year” and received an undisclosed cash reward.

Back when we first became aware of Republican member of the North Carolina legislature Thom Tillis around 2010, he was hard at work building his political future just as Republicans were poised to take control of the state legislature for the first time since the days of Reconstruction. Despite running unopposed in 2010, Tillis raised more money from cable and phone companies than any other lawmaker in the state, depositing $37,000 before knowing he would be the next Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives in January 2011. To celebrate, AT&T, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon each gave Tillis $1,000 just a few weeks before the swearing-in ceremony. It was money well spent, if you were a cable or phone company doing business in North Carolina.

Tillis left the legislature in 2015 to become the junior U.S. Senator from North Carolina. The telecom industry made sure to keep the campaign contributions flowing, if only to give their thanks for Tillis’ unwavering support for their agenda. Tillis doesn’t care much for his rural constituents still waiting for something better than dial-up internet access and as long as his campaign coffers remain bulging with corporate contributions, he doesn’t think he has much to fear from the state’s voters either. After all, he survived accusations from a resigning House Finance chairman that he had a secret business relationship with Time Warner Cable.

Raleigh’s The News & Observer felt it was their duty to mention Tillis in their editorial pages anyway, taking him to task for “cheering a loss for North Carolina consumers last week after a federal appeals court upheld a cable company protection law that he supported as state House speaker in 2011.”

The newspaper is talking about North Carolina’s infamous anti-public broadband bill that was literally constructed by lobbyists working for Time Warner Cable. The law effectively made it impossible for community broadband providers to bring their much-needed service to adjacent communities that have waited more than a decade for companies like Time Warner Cable, AT&T, CenturyLink and others to offer internet access in rural and underserved parts of the state.

Tillis personally helped shepherd the corporate protection bill, designed to shield incumbent cable and phone companies from community competition, through the state legislature, supporting it every step of the way. It would become law in 2011 and rural broadband in North Carolina hasn’t gotten any better since. In fact, it’s almost stagnant. But Tillis cannot say the same thing about his campaign bank accounts, which continue to bulge with corporate donations now in excess of $11 million.

An effort by the Federal Communications Commission to pre-empt the state law failed in a federal appeals court, much to the delight of Thom Tillis, something the newspaper calls an “insult” to North Carolinians looking for a better deal.

“Today’s ruling affirms the fact that unelected bureaucrats at the FCC completely overstepped their authority by attempting to deny states like North Carolina from setting their own laws to protect hard-working taxpayers and maintain the fairness of the free market,” Tillis said in a statement. Cough, cough.

The newspaper’s response:

Translation: Time Warner and other companies, thank goodness, will retain control of the market without having to worry about towns competing with them and thus will be able to charge people whatever the market will bear.

For Tillis to say the court ruling, which should be appealed, is a triumph for taxpayers is preposterous. It’s a setback. The “free market” he backs is one free of competition from municipal broadband services that offer a better product at a lower price.

Charter Announces Further Time Warner Cable Upgrades Are On Hold Until 2017

Maxx is dead.

Maxx is dead.

Charter Communications executives told Wall Street analysts that Time Warner Cable’s upgrade program has been suspended, to be replaced with Charter’s own previously announced plan of upgrades and “simplified pricing” sometime in 2017.

Time Warner Cable was responsible for a lot of the capital expenditures underway at the combined Charter-TWC-Bright House venture just before the merger deal closed in May. Christopher L. Winfrey, Charter’s chief financial officer and executive vice president, told investors Time Warner was on a small spending binge, rushing in orders for new cable broadband technology to hurry Maxx upgrades to customers before Charter took over operations.

Winfrey eased Wall Street’s concerns about Time Warner Cable spending 21% of revenue on capital expenditures during the last quarter, promising the more modest upgrades forthcoming from Charter will allow for future spending reductions. More immediately, Winfrey reassured investors the days of Time Warner Cable’s aggressive Maxx upgrade effort was over.

“There is, obviously, the significant amount of all-digital activity that was continuing at TWC,” Winfrey told analysts. “And that will be largely put on hold as we put in the Charter all-digital strategy the beginning of next year.”

Charter plans to cancel upgrades that would have established multiple Time Warner Cable speed tiers ranging from 50-300Mbps. Instead, Charter will roll out two speed tiers to Time Warner Cable customers — 60Mbps for around $60 a month and 100Mbps for around $100 a month for broadband-only customers.

Rutledge

Rutledge

“In the fall, we will begin to rebrand Time Warner Cable and Bright House and launch our Spectrum pricing and packaging in a number of key markets totaling over 40% of our acquired passings with the remainder in the first half of 2017,” said Charter CEO Thomas Rutledge.

Customers in certain states — notably New York — will be able to keep their current Time Warner Cable package for several years. Customers in other states will be pushed harder to transition into Charter’s simplified tiers.

“In 2017, the all-digital project at Time Warner Cable and Bright House markets will use the Charter all-digital strategy, which uses fully functioning two-way set-top boxes with video on demand and advanced guide functionality on every TV outlet,” said Rutledge. “We expect the project to be completed by 2018. We will also extend our practice of performing electronic connections instead of physical truck rolls as we go all-digital, allowing us to fully scale our self-installation and self-service practices.”

Charter only advertises 60Mbps internet access to most customers on its website.

Charter only advertises 60Mbps internet access to most customers on its website.

“Our plan is to have Spectrum Guide available in most Legacy Charter markets by the end of this year,” added Rutledge, referring to the on-screen channel guide. “We will launch Spectrum Guide in TWC’s larger markets by the middle of 2017 and other TWC and Bright House markets following through the year and likely continuing through 2018 as we complete the all-digital project.”

Rutledge was critical of Time Warner Cable and Bright House’s myriad of service tiers and prices.

“Through different metrics and stages of development, we can see that TWC and more recently, Bright House had both become reliant on rate increases and retention offers, each of which has various short and long-term effects including encouraging customers to initiate more transactions,” Rutledge said. “We’ve addressed these types of issues at Legacy Charter and we’ll do so at TWC and Bright House during the Spectrum pricing and packaging migration.”

That means Charter intends to dramatically cut the number of service and pricing options and convince customers to stop switching to promotional offers that they eventually abandon when the promotion ends. Charter prefers stable prices for services and reducing the amount of customer retention packages they have to offer to price-sensitive customers. As prices reset and increase, increased call volumes results as customers negotiate for a better deal. Removing the incentive to negotiate is seen as a cost saving maneuver and keeps customers on Charter’s regular price packages longer.

Editorial: N.Y. Governor’s Broadband Initiative Saddles Us With a Slower Internet

Thanks, Gov. Cuomo

Thanks, Gov. Cuomo

In Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s zeal to take credit for broadband enhancements across New York State, he also took partial-credit for convincing Charter Communications to speed its plan to deliver internet speeds of 100Mbps across upstate New York by early 2017, calling it “sweeping progress toward achieving its nation-leading goal of broadband for all.”

Unfortunately for New Yorkers, the governor forgot to mention his plan, coupled with the state government’s approval of Charter’s merger with Time Warner Cable, will actually result in slower and more expensive broadband for all of upstate New York.

“Access to high-speed internet is critical to keeping pace with the rising demands of the modern economy,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “The New NY Broadband Program is advancing our vision for inclusive, interconnected communities that empower individuals, support small businesses, and advance innovation. These actions are a major step forward in creating the most robust broadband infrastructure network in the nation, and ensuring that reliable, high-speed internet is available to all New Yorkers.”

While the governor’s goals for rural broadband expansion in New York are laudable and have actually produced significant results, his belief in Charter’s broadband enhancement plan is misplaced and will actually leave cities in upstate New York at a serious broadband speed disadvantage that could remain an indefinite problem.

It is difficult to admit that New York was better off leaving Time Warner Cable as the dominant cable operator in New York State. As we warned last fall in our testimony to the N.Y. Public Service Commission, Charter’s merger proposal included promises of broadband enhancements considerably less robust than what Time Warner Cable had already undertaken on its own initiative. Time Warner Cable Maxx would have brought upstate New York free speed upgrades ranging from 50/5Mbps for Standard internet customers (up from 15/1Mbps) to 300/20Mbps (up from 50/5Mbps) for customers subscribed to Time Warner’s Ultimate tier.

Charter only advertises its 60Mbps tier. You have to dig to discover they also sell 100Mbps, for $100 a month and a $200 installation fee.

Charter only advertises its 60Mbps tier. You have to dig through their website to discover they also sell 100Mbps, for $100 a month and usually a $200 installation fee.

Charter this week made it clear those Maxx upgrades are dead, except in areas where they have already been introduced. Instead, upstate New York (and likely other Maxx-less areas around the country) will get two internet speed tiers instead: 60 and 100Mbps.

Getting 100Mbps is better than 50Mbps, at least until you check the price. Customers should be sitting down for this. Charter’s 100Mbps tier costs $100 a month after a one-year promotional rate and often includes a one-time $200 installation fee. In contrast, Time Warner Cable charges about $65 a month for 300/20Mbps internet-only service, which incrementally rises after one year if you don’t threaten to cancel service. There is usually no installation or upgrade fee.

This is the “benefit” Gov. Cuomo is touting?

In fact, with Charter Communications to be the overwhelmingly dominant cable operator throughout upstate New York, this leaves cities like Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, and Binghamton in a relative broadband swamp. While cities of similar sizes in other states are qualifying for Google Fiber, AT&T’s gigabit fiber upgrade, or fiber to the home service from community-owned broadband providers, Charter’s competition includes a barely trying Frontier Communications which still offers little more than slow speed DSL, Verizon Communications which stopped expanding FiOS in New York (except Fire Island) in 2010, and a handful of small independent phone companies and fiber overbuilders serving very limited service areas.

Charter is still required to offer 300Mbps service… by 2019 in New York as part of a commitment to regulators we fought for and won. That represents a speed equal to Time Warner Cable Maxx, but Charter has three years to offer what many New Yorkers either already had or were slated to get by next year from Time Warner Cable for much less money.

It takes chutzpah to proclaim broadband victory from this kind of avoidable defeat. Gov. Cuomo’s plan for better broadband allows Charter to cheat millions of New Yorkers out of Time Warner’s much better upgrade that was scheduled to be finished this summer in Central New York and ready to commence in Rochester this fall and Buffalo early next year. The governor should be on the phone with Charter management today insisting that all of New York get the 300Mbps internet service Time Warner Cable was planning for this state. Anything less leaves New York worse off, not better.

Consider again this cold, hard reality: Time Warner Cable was the better option — that is how bad things are in New York.

Upstate cities considering their economic future must not rely on the state or federal government to solve their broadband problems. Considering what Charter and Gov. Cuomo are proposing, waiting for the cable company to make life better isn’t a solution either. The only alternative is for local community leaders to start taking control of their own broadband destiny and launch community-owned, gigabit-capable, fiber to the home service. Charter won’t do it, Frontier can’t, and Verizon is too busy making piles of money from its wireless network to worry if your city will ever have 21st century internet access it needs to compete in the digital economy.

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