Consumer Tips

Available vs. advertised rates

Many providers have different rates available for the level of service you currently receive.  These rates can reflect discount pricing based on a promotion, or a change in the basic pricing for newly added customers.

Providers may or may not be proactive in contacting customers to review pricing changes. You, as a customer, can always contact your provider to review your current account, and ask if there is a pricing package available that better meets your needs.

Is cable right for you?

Cable service may not provide the level of service you require at the rate you are able to accommodate.  Competition may exist, whether it be satellite providers, or over-the-air (OTA).

Most satellite providers are now able to provide access to local network affiliates via their services. Should you wish to examine your options, knowing who charges what rate is helpful in negotiation.

Depending on your location, over-the-air (OTA) reception may meet your needs. Many channels are available via broadcast from local markets.  Consult your local electronics equipment provider for guidance in receiving these signals.

Do you need that bundle?

Providers have promoted a practice of bundling services.  These bundles often offer lower pricing for customers who subscribe to multiple services from their provider (cable TV + phone + internet, or a combination of these).

Bundling is not necessary to receive any services.  The customer has the right to purchase any of the services offered by the provider on an à la carte basis. Many times, the individual pricing will be higher than the proportional bundled price.

There is no legal requirement that a customer move any or all of their services to a (specific) provider to receive a specific service.

Owning vs. leasing equipment

Providers must allow approved equipment access to their networks.  The provider must activate compatible equipment to access network services upon request of the end user.

An example of this is a cable modem.  The provider may charge a monthly fee for a cable modem, if the provider furnishes the use of their equipment for the end user.  The end user may purchase their own cable modem, which  eliminates the monthly charge for equipment.

Conversely, if you provide your own equipment, this means the provider has no responsibility in repairing the equipment you have furnished to use their service.  Should the equipment fail, the subscriber (you) is responsible for addressing the technical issue to restore service. It is up to the end user to decide if this is a responsibility they want to undertake.