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Time Warner Cable’s Rate Hikes Reach the Carolinas: Still $58/mo for Standalone Broadband

Winston-Salem Time Warner Cable customers can expect to pay around 4% more for cable service in 2012.

Time Warner Cable’s annual rate increases have now reached the Carolinas.

The company is mailing letters to customers that announce rate hikes for off-contract clients in the $2-4 a month range, including price increases for Road Runner broadband that will now cost between $49.45-$57.95 a month.

“Our new prices reflect dramatically higher programming costs, additional programming and features, and continued investment in our network and customer service,” said Time Warner spokesman Scott Pryzwansky. “Time Warner Cable invested more than $350 million in capital in the Carolinas over the past year to make our network even more robust and to enable our customers to get the services and features they want.”

The company also invested heavily in lobbying lawmakers to keep community-owned broadband competition at bay, helping pass a measure through the Republican-controlled legislature that makes municipal broadband competition much more unlikely.

The result is another year of unfettered rate increases for customers in cities like Winston-Salem:

  • Cable TV increases from $10.23 to $11.49 for broadcast basic, $64.99-$69.49 for standard analog service, $80.99-$85.49 for digital cable;
  • Broadband increases from $47.95 to $49.45 for customers who also have digital cable, $52.95 to $55.95 for customers with any other tier of cable TV, $57.95 for standalone broadband service;
  • Telephone rates are unchanged.

Customers can avoid some of the price increases through creative bundling, threatening to take your business elsewhere, or by signing up for alternative providers:

  1. Customers on discounted promotional packages, retention deals, and term contracts will not face the rate increases until their promotional rates or contract expires;
  2. If you are unhappy with the rate increase, consider calling Time Warner and telling them to cancel your service 1-2 weeks from today’s date.  Then wait for them to start calling you with promotional “win-back” offers that deliver at least a year of substantial savings off regular rates;
  3. If you are a broadband standalone customer, consider signing up for Earthlink under their six-month promotion for just under $30 a month.  You will continue to be billed by Time Warner Cable and receive the same speeds and service with two exceptions: no PowerBoost (a temporary speed increase during the first few seconds of downloading), and you lose your Road Runner e-mail address (which you are not actually still using, are you?)  Get a Gmail account, don’t worry about speed gimmicks, and save $28 a month.  At the end of six months, sign up for Time Warner’s Road Runner service under their promotional rate, which is around $30 a month for a year.  Total savings over the 18 month combined promotional rate term: $504!

More than two years after Time Warner introduced DOCSIS 3 speed upgrades in New York, Time Warner is finally completing broadband upgrades for their customers in the Carolinas.  The latest cities scheduled to get the company’s Wideband (50/5Mbps) and Road Runner Extreme (30/5Mbps) services are Wilmington, Jacksonville and Morehead City. The new services will be available by early 2012.

Most customers in eastern North Carolina and parts of South Carolina still get Standard service speeds of 10Mbps download, 512kbps upload.  After the upgrade, a boost in upstream speeds to 1Mbps for Standard service customers is expected.

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10 years ago

Frontier is more reliable and a better value anyways.

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