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Discussion Starter #21
My contract with Verizon ended last month. I did a lot of thinking about how I wanted to handle it between the time I started this thread and then.

Unfortunately, a few things came into play for me.

First, there are only two high speed internet providers in the Pittsburgh area. Verizon and Comcast. The ONLY other options are cell phones or satellite. The latter, of which, is prohibitively expensive.

Getting any internet package with speeds high enough to stream video (25 Mbs or higher) puts you in a price bracket where there is little advantage to completely eliminating cable. With Verizon, the difference between a package consisting of a mid-level TV package, nationwide phone and 25/25 internet and just having high speed internet alone was about $30 a month.

At least, that's what it was once I spent an hour on the phone with a retention specialist and convinced them that giving me, as an existing customer, a better deal to keep me was better than trying to gain a new one. They finally agreed.

Two things really came into play that continues to be a problem with respect to eliminating paid TV.

1) Hockey. It costs about $180 a year for the regular season NHL package to watch games online, and it DOESN'T allow you to watch your home team! I'd need to go to a bar to watch them. Which would probably end up costing me far more.

2) The science channels. I can watch pretty much everything else I watch online. There aren't many options when it comes to watching the shows on the various science channels like Through the Wormhole, etc. Amazon seemed to be about the only real option, at something like $100 a year.

While I expect it to change in the future, for now, the monopoly on certain things has my household by the short and curlies.
 

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Wanted to follow up from the fellow cord cutters on this subject. Also had a few questions.

Any regrets since you've broken up with the cable company? What do you dislike the most of streaming services?
2 1/2 years now using just Hulu, Netflix, and Prime and love it. But, as TJin said, if you are a big sports fan you will still need a way to get ESPN, most of that content is exclusive to paid cable/satellite. I wanted to watch one of the World Cup matches but was only able to see it over the net in Spanish on Univision.com.
 

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Nice to get feedback from everyone and their experience.

I want to say I was a sports fan. I still like to follow results, however, in the past two years I've realized the 3 hours per football game is time I felt I'm wasting being more productive in many other things. It was a deal breaker for me to cut the cord in the past. It is to my understanding, as long as I have a paid broad band subscription I can still stream sports over ESPN3 aka espngo.com is that not correct?

Randy,

a good friend of mine has Direct TV, he has warned me of how badly they treat him. If the option for a satellite is in my future, I would give Dish a try over Direct TV for the horror stories my bud has shared.

On signal boosters, I run Asus routers in our home. I have an RT-53U router setup as a signal booster in my step sons bedroom. We have tons of electronics in his room, wifi printer, his laptop, phone, ipad, Playstation 3 and Playstation 4. Initially he complained his devices were performing slow or not at all. After the router/converted to signal booster he has not complained. The Asus RT-53U can be found very cheap these days if you are in the market for a router/signal booster.

TJ,

wish I could be in your situation. When I called yesterday I got a quote for $57.xx tax included for a 50 mbps package for internet. Compared to the $195 per month I'm paying now for just cable, internet, and dying channels, I'm content with that.

Talked it over with my family last night, everyone is ready to pull the trigger. I'm sourcing a quality modem today to not have the additional $12 a month charge for "renting" the company's product which I don't even care for. I disable and bypass their wifi to use my own routers.
 

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Discussion Starter #24
Buying your own modem/router is definitely a worthwhile option if you are a new customer.

With Verizon, if you've had high speed internet for more than a year, you are no longer charged for the modem/router. So, that's helpful.

@ $197 a month, I'm guessing that you had some premium channels in the mix. I previously had the third tier "extreme" HD package but opted for the second tier "Preferred" HD package, which has SOME of everything, but not all of anything. It has a few ESPN channels as well as our local Fox Sports Pittsburgh (which carries our penguins games) and NBC Sports, but not the NHL network or most of the other sports channels. Which is fine.

It has most of the news channels, about half of the science channels. I've found a number of channels that I did periodically watch that I no longer have, but nothing I cannot live without.

As an existing customer, it would have cost me about $140 a month to keep my existing package with the Extreme HD and 50/50 internet and phone. By pressing them for a better deal and dropping to the Preferred and 25/25, I was able to get it down to $90 a month.

In retrospect, I'm guessing I'm paying about $40 a month for TV and phone over the top of the 25/25 internet for existing customers. Which gives me the things I wanted so I'm more or less happy with that.

I don't have any premium channels. You can get Netflix and watch all the movies you'd get on those, and the series that they have are usually available within a month or two of the end of the season. And, locking oneself into 52 weeks of paying for HBO and Showtime to watch a show that has about 13 episodes a season never made much sense to me anyway.

Like I said, I'm ok with the deal I got, and it provides me with what I need. But, I still would have gone with internet only if I could have found access to the things I wanted without a TV package.

The monopolistic agreements that the TV providers have struck really make it tempting to do things one shouldn't.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
As an aside, when I bought my house about 10 years ago, Verizon did not yet offer FiOS in my neighborhood. Internet was DSL. They did, however, have a deal with DirecTV, to provide TV service at a discount off of their regular rate.

I can honestly say I never had a problem with my DirecTV service. In the two years I had them, I think I can count on one hand the number of times I lost signal due to weather. So, I never had to deal with extended periods without it.

Truth be told, the picture quality was better than I get with FiOS. But, to get FiOS for internet and still keep DirecTV would have been cost prohibitive.

I've never had Dish. But, if customer service is an issue, I've heard more horror stories about them than DirecTV. YMMV.
 

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I currently have Amazon Prime and am not really impressed with it. The "free" content is about the same as Netflix, while they do get new content quickly they want an additional charge for it. I was sold to cancel this service before my renewal date in January. Now where we will be cutting out cable, I'm on the fence to keep it. The rate is also jumping up for us if we renew. It was $79 a year and is now going to $99.
Amazon Prime is something I never would have joined, but last winter I bought an Otter sled and joining Amazon Prime for free shipping was cheaper than paying the shipping even from a lower priced vendor, I almost look at it as a freebee cause it saved me more than it cost the first time I used it. I have since found it saves me easily more than the annual membership even with my extremely limited amount of online shopping I do. (I am religious about using local vendors if possible) So I plan on renewing membership

Amazon is probably #4 used channel, I go back and forth between Hulu & Netflix as #1 and #3 is Pandora, I also watch PBS occasionally as well, probably enuf to tie for #4 with Amazon

I like Netflix navigation better than Hulu and I have noticed that Hulu has also increased the number of ads, not obnoxious though, cause they don't come screaming at you like regular TV, and they are short as well, and 50% are advertizing other series on Hulu, I think I do like more programs on Hulu than the others
 

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On signal boosters, I run Asus routers in our home. I have an RT-53U router setup as a signal booster in my step sons bedroom. We have tons of electronics in his room, wifi printer, his laptop, phone, ipad, Playstation 3 and Playstation 4. Initially he complained his devices were performing slow or not at all. After the router/converted to signal booster he has not complained. The Asus RT-53U can be found very cheap these days if you are in the market for a router/signal booster.
I'm still up in the air about how to amplify my signal, I have had many suggestions

my office is in a separate building about 150 feet away from my house, I only get a signal now cause I made a tin foil dish that I use to make the signal directional toward my house. Before I did that, I had lousy signal, not good enuf to stream.

I can get a pair of wi fi boosters, one in the office and one in the house,

or, I actually have a 25pair CAT5 cable running between my office building and my house and currently only using 2 pair for an extension of my office phone to my home and vice versa (I do not own a cell phone and never plan to). So hardwiring a router is not out of the question and has the advantage of giving my a better transfer speed between my home computer and office server
 

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...On signal boosters, I run Asus routers in our home. I have an RT-53U router setup as a signal booster in my step sons bedroom. We have tons of electronics in his room, wifi printer, his laptop, phone, ipad, Playstation 3 and Playstation 4. Initially he complained his devices were performing slow or not at all. After the router/converted to signal booster he has not complained. The Asus RT-53U can be found very cheap these days if you are in the market for a router/signal booster.
Edit: didn't see Randy's post quoting Orange's exact same text.

That is an important point. Good bandwidth from the internet provider (5Mbps min) and a solid WiFi signal in the house (or hardwired to the Roku) is a must for cutting the cable, nothing worse than a slow/weak signal.

Signal boosters (repeaters) help but if using a second router best to configure it as an Access Point (AP mode) if possible. Repeaters don't require running cable but you pay for it in being limited to 1/2 data rate max (the unit must simultaneously transmit and receive). Access Point mode is better as you get full bandwidth at all locations; extra important if there are multiple users in the house watching TV (high bandwidth). Downside to AP mode is you must run a cable between the routers.

Repeater vs Access Point

It is worth buying the best/latest WiFi hardware you can as the equipment keeps getting better and setup easier. I have been using dual Asus RT-AC66U in AP mode (one-click AP mode setup and MIMO antennas) and they have been working great, 4 bars in all parts of the house. :rock: Older routers may not support AP mode or if they do can be a nightmare to setup.


... dish that I use to make the signal directional toward my house. Before I did that, I had lousy signal, not good enuf to stream.
I tried that at first, definitely helped but was still flaky at times; probably will work well for some configurations but I finally gave up and ran a wire. WiFi is going to be around forever and I don't plan on moving any time soon so it was worth it to me.
 

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Buying your own modem/router is definitely a worthwhile option if you are a new customer.

With Verizon, if you've had high speed internet for more than a year, you are no longer charged for the modem/router. So, that's helpful.
That's actually very nice for a provider to drop the rental fee. From the discussion it looks like you are being treated pretty fair. My provider on the other hand, wants every penny they can squeeze out of the customer.

@ $197 a month, I'm guessing that you had some premium channels in the mix.
I am embarrassed to admit, this is not the case. We initially received a few upgraded channels that were considered part of the package we were sold, IE Bravo and Encore. We did have most sports channels, no premium movie channels such as HBO and Cinemax. We never had the Speed channel or Velocity which I found odd as when selecting the channel the input would prompt, "you currently are not paying for this channel, call your provider to add it." As of August of 2014 we have lost several channels, granted 5 of the currently 7 lost we did not watch, however 2 of them we watched regularly. Those were two shows we enjoyed now gone. The price remains the same, and the online community is speculating more channels are to be cut in the not so distant future. I find the price of $195 now no longer embarrassing, but insulting.

The monopolistic agreements that the TV providers have struck really make it tempting to do things one shouldn't.
I couldn't agree more to this statement, and I'm just going to leave it at that ;-)

I can honestly say I never had a problem with my DirecTV service.
Honestly the issues my friend experienced were from the customer service end, he has never complained about signal quality. The customer service horror stories he has told me sound about on par with the customer service I'm getting from my current cable provider.

Amazon Prime is something I never would have joined, but last winter I bought an Otter sled and joining Amazon Prime for free shipping was cheaper than paying the shipping even from a lower priced vendor, I almost look at it as a freebee cause it saved me more than it cost the first time I used it.
We actually talked this over and we decided to keep Amazon Prime, so we will have three streaming services to choose from. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime. I have taken advantage of the free 2 day shipping as well and it does come in handy. I tend to order items I cannot find locally as well, so I shop maybe 5 times a year on Amazon. I am also sharing the account with my parents whom use Amazon to stream to their TV and do their own online purchasing.

or, I actually have a 25pair CAT5 cable running between my office building and my house and currently only using 2 pair for an extension of my office phone to my home and vice versa (I do not own a cell phone and never plan to). So hardwiring a router is not out of the question and has the advantage of giving my a better transfer speed between my home computer and office server
Well if this is an option then I would recommend this. I always prefer hard wiring vs going wireless.


Edit: didn't see Randy's post quoting Orange's exact same text.

That is an important point. Good bandwidth from the internet provider (5Mbps min) and a solid WiFi signal in the house (or hardwired to the Roku) is a must for cutting the cable, nothing worse than a slow/weak signal.

Signal boosters (repeaters) help but if using a second router best to configure it as an Access Point (AP mode) if possible. Repeaters don't require running cable but you pay for it in being limited to 1/2 data rate max (the unit must simultaneously transmit and receive). Access Point mode is better as you get full bandwidth at all locations; extra important if there are multiple users in the house watching TV (high bandwidth). Downside to AP mode is you must run a cable between the routers.
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Unfortunately, we are renting and our apartment is two story. The modem and primary router are downstairs, bedrooms upstairs. While we have never had an issue with electronics in our bedroom, my step son had a Unique situation. At one point, we all had iphones, and apple has a nice little messaging service that when enabled over rides text messages with imessages. From some unexplained reason his phone would not send imessages from his bedroom. So we used a the RT-53U as a range extender to help remedy the situation. Since he is now the only Apple product user in our home, so I feel the need to turn off the R.E. would probably help his devices choose better for one SSID vs the two being broadcast. He intermittently has problems with his playstation 3 and it becomes quite the fiasco getting the issues resolved. I feel the R.E. could be at fault, more troubleshooting on that tonight!

Nice to see another fellow Asus product supporter. Three years ago I initially was in search of a Buffalo router, sorry can't recall the model number. The reason being, Buffalo started using DD-WRT firmware. I was beyond excited to find this router, however, disappointed every time my local Fry's electronics was sold out when I would visit. I was engaged into a lengthy conversation with the sales guy about the current routers sold. To my surprise he was very knowledgeable and also a product tester that would write online reviews. He turned me on to the Asus RT-56U and said he loved it when he tested it. He then said, "take it home, and if you don't like it come find me and tell me what features you were disappointed in." This of course ignited my passion find a fail point or feature I would dislike. I found myself later going back and thanking him for his opinion and told him more sales people should be as knowledgeable and helpful as he is.

And switching back to cutting the cord topic. I am finding some insanely cool stuff and getting excited. Anyone see this? http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboBundleDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.2093410
 

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Discussion Starter #31
That's actually very nice for a provider to drop the rental fee. From the discussion it looks like you are being treated pretty fair. My provider on the other hand, wants every penny they can squeeze out of the customer.
I've had no major complaints with Verizon. I have a close friend who works for them. He had nothing to do with getting them to come down on the price other than to give me the same advice that another friend who works for Canada Bell gave me with respect to dealing with the retention specialist. Mostly about how to talk to them (and how NOT to talk to them).

For me, it was strictkly a need to reduce my montly outlay of non-essentials.

Other than the policy of giving better deals to new customers than to existing ones (which is in no way exclusive to them), I've had no real complaints. And, the few times I've had service techs come to the house for whatever reason, they've been relatively courteous and easy to work with.



I am embarrassed to admit, this is not the case. We initially received a few upgraded channels that were considered part of the package we were sold, IE Bravo and Encore. We did have most sports channels, no premium movie channels such as HBO and Cinemax. We never had the Speed channel or Velocity which I found odd as when selecting the channel the input would prompt, "you currently are not paying for this channel, call your provider to add it." As of August of 2014 we have lost several channels, granted 5 of the currently 7 lost we did not watch, however 2 of them we watched regularly. Those were two shows we enjoyed now gone. The price remains the same, and the online community is speculating more channels are to be cut in the not so distant future. I find the price of $195 now no longer embarrassing, but insulting.
Encore, I think, is considered a premium channel with Verizon. Could be wrong on that. I'd need to check the top tier HD package to see if it's included.

$200 for internet and that level TV package, and no phone, does seem rather high. I'm fairly sure I could get the 50/50 internet (maybe faster), the Extreme HD TV package, Encore and nationwide unlimited phone service for less than that. I didn't look into that level of programming when I renewed to say for sure.

Does seem high.

Providers losing channels is always an issue with me. Sometimes, it's beyond their control. For example, the package I was on before had Fearnet and Chiller. Chiller bought out Fearnet and the channel was eliminated. That channel no longer being in existance is not their fault. Them not compensating by giving you another channel to make up for the lost one is.

Chiller was one of the channels I lost with the downgrade. Don't miss it, though.


I couldn't agree more to this statement, and I'm just going to leave it at that ;-)
Ditto :-X

Honestly the issues my friend experienced were from the customer service end, he has never complained about signal quality. The customer service horror stories he has told me sound about on par with the customer service I'm getting from my current cable provider.
Understood. Like I said, I never had any real issues to warrant calling DirecTV. The only question I ever had was a billing question, which I addressed through Verizon since it was an add on through them.


I am also sharing the account with my parents whom use Amazon to stream to their TV and do their own online purchasing.
The friend of mine who works for Verizon has an Amazon Prime account. I've asked him to order a few things for me to get the free shipping. I've never asked him for his password or anything, though, and haven't used it to stream video.

That might fall under the doing things we're not supposed to category.



And switching back to cutting the cord topic. I am finding some insanely cool stuff and getting excited. Anyone see this? http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboBundleDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.2093410
Not that specific product but I've seen videos on youtube talking about similar products.

As internet speeds get fatster and faster, it's pretty clear that the grip on society that the cable companies have is going to slip more and more.

And, this doesn't even take into consideration the independent productions out there that air without the use of a TV network at all.
 

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I can honestly say I never had a problem with my DirecTV service. In the two years I had them, I think I can count on one hand the number of times I lost signal due to weather. So, I never had to deal with extended periods without it.

Truth be told, the picture quality was better than I get with FiOS. But, to get FiOS for internet and still keep DirecTV would have been cost prohibitive.

I've never had Dish. But, if customer service is an issue, I've heard more horror stories about them than DirecTV. YMMV.
same here with actual TV reception, pixelated or complete loss of signal a handful of times but only during the severest of thunderstorms or snowstorms

I did have an issue during installation that I nipped in the bud, the installers do the quickest and dirtiest job they can do, while the installer was running coax underneath the floor in my basement, she began stretching the coax diagonally shortest distance tacking it to the bottom of the flood joists when I had a nice electrical chase running along the sill, then a 90° turn along a single joist for a nice neat job

I should have known better than sign up for DirecTV to begin with, they only advertise their promotional introductory rates and it's like pulling teeth getting out of them what the cost will be after the introductory period of reduced rates. Bait & switch may work to get customers, it doesn't work to retain them

One thing I did that keep me from getting screwed completely was only by coincidence. Even though they require a credit card to sign up, I used paper billing and a check rather than automatic billing to my credit card. Shortly after I signed up, my credit card became compromised and I closed the account and reopened a new one, DirecTV had my old invalid account number so they were unable get money from me unless I give it to them, I still have an ongoing dispute with them over $230 in charges, I also only gave them my office phone number as well, no home phone, so I was able to stop the obnoxious phone calls at my place of work
 

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Does seem high.

Providers losing channels is always an issue with me. Sometimes, it's beyond their control.
I can't argue that it was directly their fault. Sometimes channel negotiations just don't work out. I'm fed up with the random rate increases, it seems that every January they raise their rates by $10. We initially started off at $175 a month, the following year $185, then $195.

Also to note, the claimed internet speed increase from 50 meg to 75 meg has either not taken effect or something isn't working. I'm still clocking the same speeds. I'll be calling anyway to inquire what process to follow to turn in my DVR box so I'll just inquire if the change hasn't taken effect yet.


Not that specific product but I've seen videos on youtube talking about similar products.

As internet speeds get fatster and faster, it's pretty clear that the grip on society that the cable companies have is going to slip more and more.

And, this doesn't even take into consideration the independent productions out there that air without the use of a TV network at all.
I spent a little time yesterday researching the bundled hardware of the package. It's pretty much on par with the original plan I had to expand my media server into an OTA DVR system. I was considering running an internal TV tuner vs external which is listed in the package. I'm on the fence with the listed router. It is again peaking my interest to run a Buffalo router utilizing the DD-WRT firmware. However after doing more homework, the newer Asus routers now have a DD-WRT firmware flash available as well.

I am a big fan of Asus products, their routers consistently get high marks and they make the best PC motherboards.
Given my research yesterday, I am going to upgrade to the RT-AC66U. I did look at the RT-AC87U, and sadly there were too many negative reviews. I'm hoping the AC66U resolves some of the gaming issues my step son is experiencing. Lately his playstations are clocking in at 7 and 8 meg down and 4 meg up. They use to run 20 meg down consistently. I'm going to move the modem and router into his room tonight to see if that helps the situation until the new router arrives.

I do recall drooling over Asus mother boards in the early 2000's when I did my last home built PC. Sadly, the prices of purchasing a new desktop vs building one have out weighed one another if you ask me. A friend of mine did a build over the Christmas break and I was quite jealous as it's been so long since I've done one. I just can't justify the need when my current desktop really only needs more ram, the TV Tuner and a larger hard drive.
 

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Getting any internet package with speeds high enough to stream video (25 Mbs or higher) puts you in a price bracket where there is little advantage to completely eliminating cable.

I didnt read the followup posts to see if anybody else commented on this yet, but you do NOT NEED 25Meg speeds to stream. I stream all the time on my 10k connection that half the time doesnt run faster than 5k.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
I should have known better than sign up for DirecTV to begin with, they only advertise their promotional introductory rates and it's like pulling teeth getting out of them what the cost will be after the introductory period of reduced rates. Bait & switch may work to get customers, it doesn't work to retain them
With Verizon, my DirecTV bill was locked in for as long as my Verizon bundle was active. 2 years, I think. But, when I looked at the DirecTV website, I didn't have a problem figuring out how much it was going to cost. The regular price of the package (which usually kicks in after 12 months with a 24 month commitment) is listed on the page with the package description. It's the last thing on the page, but it's there.



I can't argue that it was directly their fault. Sometimes channel negotiations just don't work out. I'm fed up with the random rate increases, it seems that every January they raise their rates by $10. We initially started off at $175 a month, the following year $185, then $195.
Sounds a lot like how it was with Comcast. Price seemed to be going up a few times a year.

I do recall drooling over Asus mother boards in the early 2000's when I did my last home built PC. Sadly, the prices of purchasing a new desktop vs building one have out weighed one another if you ask me. A friend of mine did a build over the Christmas break and I was quite jealous as it's been so long since I've done one. I just can't justify the need when my current desktop really only needs more ram, the TV Tuner and a larger hard drive.
Can't speak to the routers. I bought a really cheap ASUS laptop from Staples earlier this year that I set up to dual-boot Win 8 and Linux Mint that has worked out very well.

By and large, I'm of the opinion that they made decent products for the pricepoint.

I didnt read the followup posts to see if anybody else commented on this yet, but you do NOT NEED 25Meg speeds to stream. I stream all the time on my 10k connection that half the time doesnt run faster than 5k.
Streaming with 10k? That's less than dial-up speed. Even with today's compression, you're looking at about 300mb for a 45 minute TV episode with resolution good enough to be blown up to a TV size screen at SD quality. Which would put you at at least 100k/sec to stream even that without waiting for it to download first.

They say 500k-1Mb is about the lowest you can go to live stream SD quality video. HD video at 5-6Mbps.

No, you don't need 25. However, 25 is the lowest speed that Verizon offers without going back to DSL, which costs more.
 

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With Verizon, my DirecTV bill was locked in for as long as my Verizon bundle was active. 2 years, I think. But, when I looked at the DirecTV website, I didn't have a problem figuring out how much it was going to cost. The regular price of the package (which usually kicks in after 12 months with a 24 month commitment) is listed on the page with the package description. It's the last thing on the page, but it's there.

.
maybe if you use their website to sign up

I got a coupon from my son and called them on the phone, seems like their service reps should know the answer
 

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Discussion Starter #37
Agreed, and I hadn't considered the prospect of signing up that way.

Yes, they should definitely know the standard rates of the packages... or, at least have the information readily available.
 

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switching from Comcast to DirecTV tomorrow. Only sucky part is I am dropping from 50MB to 3MB internet speed by moving to Verizon for the ISP.
 

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Discussion Starter #40
They're all sucky.

I'd say that they are following the congressional model but they all do manage to deliver some worthwhile content.
 
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