Another former Comcast customer

Approximately two weeks ago, in late January 2014, I canceled my Comcast cable TV and Internet service. Two weeks before that, I would have never thought to do such a thing.

You see, I’m the kind of person who is a massive consumer of media, including TV, movies, internet videos, etc. I even find myself catching The Verge’s Vergecast at least a few times a month. And like many American males, I love my sports. I watch[ed] most Timberwolves and Twins games (Fox Sports North), I watch almost every Vikings game, and frequent ESPN and even occasionally found myself watching Fox Sports 1. So why would I cancel my only option to catch many of these programs?

Comcast, period.

Let me go back a little further. I’m the type of person who questions authority heavily, and if I pay for a service, I expect to get what I pay for. You see, I’ve had cable TV service for quite some time, but up until a few months ago, I lived in a service area with Charter. A few years back, I thought Charter was just another crappy cable company. But as time moved on, Charter became bearable, even somewhat good. For internet, the speed was great, bandwidth was sufficient, but for TV, the services provided and packages offered seemed sub-par. At least that’s what I thought before I moved to the Twin Cities.

When we first moved up to St. Paul, we lived in a studio apartment, we only had room for one TV, so never really needed more than one box. I now live in St. Paul in a two story apartment complex. My only viable option for television service is Comcast. Obviously, satellite is available, but my apartment requires a $250 deposit to install, not really an option. So, I decided on Comcast. They provide internet and TV, and for introductory prices, they aren’t that bad. But, when we moved to our new place, we got some bedrooms, oh yeah!

I found out quickly, Comcast no longer offers service straight through the cable wall-jack. I don’t understand why, nobody really gave me a good answer. In my old place, Charter continued to offer cable service without a box. But, no . . . Comcast decided you need to rent their box ($$$). First. Giant. UGH.

Well, okay, if that’s what you require so I can get FSN, then okay. I chatted with a Comcast service representative as we moved into the new apartment and this is what I was told: If I wanted two boxes, the first SD box is free, and the second SD or even HD box is $10 a month. Fine. That’s what we decided we would do. Great, got the equipment, installed it myself and had beautiful HDTV, at least on one TV. That lasted about one day. An email showed up quickly explaining some new charges.

$125 Starter Bundle
$10 HD Technology Fee
$9.95 Digital Addl Outlet SVC
$15 Self-Install Kit
Among others charges – estimated total: $205.22

What!? First of all, what happened to that free SD box I have connected to the TV in our bedroom? I called, they told me if I get HD, it becomes the Primary box and I no longer get a free box. What....? Oh, thanks for telling me that the first time. $15 self-install kit. What a rip-off. $125 for Cable TV and Internet, before the boxes and modems? Seriously, go UGH yourself Comcast. After hours of talking on the phone and chatting with representatives, I got absolutely nowhere. Even though the Comcast reps first told me one thing, it didn’t matter to these folks. They instantly had me fuming, and I decided to cancel their service the next day. Surprisingly they didn’t even try and keep me. I signed up for CenturyLink DSL service that night and haven’t even considered looking back once.

A couple of things you may want to know if Comcast drives you to do the same thing. If you live in a big city, you can still get a handful of TV channels, including every broadcast network. I picked up a couple of $25 HD antennas and have Fox, ABC, NBC, CBS, a few PBSs, CW, a few others like Bounce, Movies!, and Antenna TV. You can definitely get your TV fix while you surf the web, like I found myself doing most of the time anyhow. CenturyLink DSL, although not the fastest ever, surely gets the job done. The highest speed I have available to me is "up to" 12mbps. I rarely get that high, usually more in the range of 5-7mbps. I can still watch Netflix on multiple devices at a time, play online games like Halo, and generally surf the web. Virtually no problems.

My only problem is I’ll still miss out on my Timberwolves and Twins. I’ll just have to deal and learn to drink waters at a bar. Baseball is bearable on the radio, basketball, not so much. Either way, I have zero plans to go back to Comcast. And I pity anyone who is forced to use Comcast. I don’t know whether TWC is any better or worse, but Comcast, really won’t be much better.

Charter would seem to be a much better option, they even gave me a loyal customer discount once. Really, it was pretty unexpected, and of course this could just be my experience because in my old region there was actually a second provider of cable TV programming. I’m sure it helped.

Tell me about your experience with your cable provider? Have you cut the cord? Are you considering? Let’s face it, cable TV and even broadband have almost zero competition, where it does, it seems that service may get better. But that, I’m sure is exception to the rule.

Let me know if you have any questions. I’d be happy to share with you my cord-cutting experience.