An open letter to an industry gone awry.

Dear local cable/internet service provider(s),

In 2006 my total combined bill for basic/standard cable and broadband-internet, including all taxes, fees and surcharges was $97 and change. 

Before that it was $47 for your cable TV service only.

Today (in 2013), my total bill for the exact same combined services is over $130.

That’s an increase of about 24% for the (albeit slightly improved) exact same service over a 7-year period.

Following this trend, may I fully expect my bill to increase another 24% over the next 7 years?  I sure hope not.  I’ll be going to the library or Starbucks’ before that ever happens!

Conversely, my private in-home (broadband-based) telephone line providers’ bill has remained exactly the same each month since the day I signed on, years ago (a third-party service provider).  I might add that this service also includes extensive international calling capability too. 

This service is offered for one very reasonable, all-inclusive and seemingly unwavering price. 

This price also beats the living crap out of anything offered by your company! 

It cannot work however, when your broadband-internet service is down and/or out.  Local cable/broadband/telephone service provider(s); please take note!  I suspect that yours can’t either.

Having said that, at various times between then and now, I had been forced to endure continued intermittent broadband outages.  Throughout each of these untimely broadband-internet service interruptions, my cable TV service remained entirely undisturbed and fully functional.

After enduring multiple, invasive in-home service calls, including a complete “up to modern spec.” rewiring upgrade and several visits to the pole/box across the street, (with some very nice looking test equipment) my “issue” remained unresolved.

Often, these internet-only outages would coincide with outdoor precipitation (rain).  All of my cable-related equipment (I might add) is housed both safely and dryly on the inside of my home at all times.

Keep in mind that I have, upon multiple occasions, both replaced and upgraded my wireless modem/router at my own expense, in order to keep up with both technology/speeds and to take advantage of the best possible modern wireless innovations.

Following several failed in-home service attempts, I finally spoke with one of your technical service reps. via telephone who managed to figure out this very simple problem without ever having set foot in my home!

With his diagnosis firmly in hand, I both quickly and easily resolved the issue myself. 

Bravo!

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But how could all of your trained field-service technicians each have overlooked this flaw and failed us both miserably?  

Still, thank you to the first and only knowledgeable technical person I have ever spoken with via telephone from your company.   I now have his direct line on my speed-dial, BTW.

Soon thereafter, your company made the switch to “all digital” cable broadcasting with “vastly improved, all-digital cable picture”(not).  I had to go to your local office and pick-up my new cable interface equipment too, in order to avoid facing your costly installation fee(s).

Keep in mind that I own only modern, high-quality TV sets too, in order to take full advantage of your self-advertised, modern and supposedly high-quality cable picture broadcasting capabilities.  I also only use top-of-the heap quality cabling,

in order to interconnect my equipment to yours.  Note:  I do know a thing or two about both wiring and cables.

After my own successful installation and activation of both of your new cable interface units, imagine my surprise when the secondary interface would not allow access to several cable channels that my primary interface did!  Not to mention the immediate loss of all previously included major-network HD channels. 

I must say in all honesty that you did warn me that the loss of the previously included HD channels would occur after your service ‘upgrade’. 

I did notice however, that this change in service was never reflected either way in your following billing cycles.

How come?

Still however, shouldn’t your signal be the exact same service signal going to both interfaces?  (I do know a thing or two about signal flow, don’t ya know?)

Thereafter, I never really noticed any difference and/or improvement whatsoever in the “all-digital” picture quality of your so-called new and improved digital cable signal…besides the obvious loss of my previously included HD channels.  Great potential built-in up-selling strategy, by the way!  I wouldn’t buy into it.

So, because it was now after-hours, I called your emergency technical help line. 

It was explained to me that you were in the midst of changing the existing channel access configuration within my particular cable package (without formal notification, I might add…) and that once these changes had taken place, normal channel access would be resumed. 

At that moment, incidentally, my BS detector went off the charts immediately.

From that day forward, I could watch the Science channel on my upstairs TV set, however couldn’t watch it on my downstairs TV set.

WTH happened?

I’ll tell you what happened: right then and there, I gave up.  I resigned. 

Cable Co. +1 (won, ha-ha!): Me – zero. 

As I write this bit, (all joking aside) I’ve run down the hallway to my office twice in order to reboot my late-model, top-of-the-line wireless modem/router.

That’s because I’ve just lost my broadband-internet connection again…and in complete broad daylight!

I won’t even touch on as to why it is that each of your new customers will pay a mere fraction (for a time, anyway) of what I must now pay for the same bundled service(s) and have been faithfully paying on time for many, many years.  I’m a model customer!  But that’s another proverbial ‘can o’ worms’ altogether and a gripe for another day.

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You know what though?  Maintaining a normal, healthy blood pressure level at my age and just being happy is far more important to me now than it ever has been.

“The times they are ‘a changin’.”

Sincerely,

Your Model Customer

P.S.  And the moral of this story?  There isn’t one.  Not yet, anyway.  Kind ‘o trippy, huh?

– Shrek