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Computer - featuredWith two separate announcements last week, Time Warner Cable likely raised the cost of my Internet another $60 a year.

The rates for customers will go up an average of $3 a month. In addition, the cost to rent a modem went from $3.95 to $5.99 a month. Time Warner only last year started charging the modem fee.

Many of us will now buy our own modems.

What are the choices if you want to jump ship?

If you do not want to bundle with television or phone service, there’s only one other major choice: Frontier. It offers home Internet service over its landline phone network. Speeds can be slower, though there are technologies that are boosting copper speeds.

Dish and DirecTV require a television subscription. Earthlink is an option, but a quick check of prices don’t indicate huge savings over Frontier or Time Warner. The dish services and Earthlink use the lines from your local phone and cable companies.

Greenlight Networks is a local startup, but its geography is very limited. Also, it’s plans start at $50 a month, more than I pay now.

AT&T and Verizon offer wireless Internet options, but they are expensive, often have data caps, and slower speeds. (People with smartphones pay for the Internet twice – for mobile and home use. I’ve long wanted one Internet bill.)

I pay $37.99 (pre-rate hike) a month for Time Warner’s “lite” Internet service. I do not have cable television. I’d like to keep my bill under $50 a month, but I’m not sure how much longer that will be feasible. Sure, I can switch providers to find better deals, but that’s a pain in the neck. Every time a promotional period runs out, I’d have to go back to market.

As more of us cut the cord, the giant telecoms and cable providers will find a way to make up that cash. That’s why our broadband bills will keep going up.

Some wonder if the Internet should be regulated as a utility. Think about this fact: Time Warner, which raked in more than $21 billion last year, has 700,000 subscribers in the Buffalo and Rochester markets. I’m not sure how many of those are businesses. But the Western New York market has 875,000 households. That’s an astounding market penetration. Does this mean Time Warner is the best choice or the least worse option?


Links of the Day:


– A Buffalo News columnist calls for a metro school district. Donn Esmonde points out reform models don’t take into account the importance of economic diversity.

– Eighty-six percent of Pittsford graduates go to four-year colleges. In poorer districts, fewer than half do.

– Forty percent of the University of Rochester’s Simon School students are from other countries.

– Ankle monitors give a false sense of security. They simply produce too much data for law enforcement to reasonably check.

– Important read on why the government crackdown on leaks threatens the public’s right to know. Confidential sources are crucial to journalism.

More low-wage workers are fighting back.

22 Responses to Internet and Choice

  1. July 29, 2013 at 9:10 am Lincoln DeCoursey responds:

    Clear (clear.com) is an option for those considering wireless home Internet. Unlimited plan pricing starts at $35 monthly with no taxes or fees. At that price, the speed is a bit slower than even basic DSL, but there are faster options and there’s even a lower-price option with a usage cap.

    One nice thing about Clear is, if you travel and don’t always need home service, or if your cash situation fluctuates, you can allow it to lapse and then turn it back on later. As it’s prepay, you can never end up getting behind with them. Another nice thing is, if you move around occasionally or are planning to move soon, this is something that you can just pick up and take with you.

  2. July 29, 2013 at 9:21 am David responds:

    For some reason lost in the mists of the 1980’s, Verizon is forbidden to offer FiOS here.

  3. July 29, 2013 at 9:35 am Dan Howell responds:

    I switched to Frontier to take advantage of a promo at the time and save on my overall bills – it combined internet, phone, and I already had Dish. The savings was significant, but I am now switching back to Time Warner as my internet speeds have been dreadful, and at times, non-existent. Streaming has been next to impossible recently. I think TWC is the least worst option – but I’m looking forward to regular speeds again!

  4. Definitly least worse option. To make up for the cost increase I will be canceling my cable subscription and buying my own modem. IMost of the time I just watch Netflix anyways

  5. July 29, 2013 at 10:24 am Booored...man...street responds:

    Every time I read about low-wage workers protesting about their wages I cringe. Those low-paying jobs should be stepping stones to a better job, not a career.
    One bit from the article especially makes me cringe:
    “Ana Salvador, who earns $10 an hour after 10 years working at the McDonald’s inside the National Air and Space Museum, wrote Mr. Obama to say that she did not earn enough to support her four children, adding that her family relied on food stamps and Medicaid.”
    If she is only working at McDonald’s, why does she have 4 kids!?!?!? Don’t have kids until you can afford them!! Get an education and a career BEFORE you have kids. It may sound crude, but kids should be looked at as an investment, not a right. They cost money, just like a car, house, etc. Don’t have them if you can’t afford them. For Ms. Salvador, I have no sympathy. One kid might be a mistake that you make when you are younger. 4 kids means you keep having them when you are still working at McDonald’s.

    • Could the same right-wing policies that lurrrve for people like Ms. Salvador to be stuck in a low-wage job also be responsible for restricting her access to information about contraception, and contraception itself? Why yes, yes they could.

      Coud this line of discussion be utterly irrelevant to a conversation about Time-Warner and other Internet options in the Rochester area? Why yes, yes it could.

      • July 29, 2013 at 12:21 pm Booored...man...street responds:

        It is relevant to one of the links below the Time Warner story.
        Please don’t give this bull about restricted information, sex ed has been taught in school for years so contraception isn’t some huge mystery. I think everyone by this point should know how babies are made (and prevented), perhaps taught by their parents, school, TV, the internet, free books from the library? She works at a freaking museum, I don’t think her access to information is restricted. If you don’t know about contraception by now then you definitely shouldn’t be having kids, and if you are “stuck” in a low-wage job, having 4 kids is NOT the way out.

  6. July 29, 2013 at 12:09 pm Rob Ewanow responds:

    Give me a cost effective (<$50/month) option with good speed and I would jump ship in a heartbeat. TWC knows they have a monopoly and do everything possible to exploit it. I dropped cable long ago in favor of satellite, now if I could just get rid of their internet.

  7. Anyone know anything about EarthLink? I’ve read that they use Time Warner’s cable lines but offer different prices and services. I don’t have a TV so all I need is Internet.

  8. July 29, 2013 at 1:25 pm Joe in Spencerport responds:

    Regulate internet access? More commie regulation we don’t need. We have the most expensive rates and slowest speeds of any advanced country. How could regulation improve that?

  9. I switched from RoadRunner to Earthlink two years ago. I pay 51.99/month and only have internet (no cable). There is not a modem fee either (at least not yet). It was just a switchover in their ‘computer’, nobody had to come out to the house. I still get my bills from Time Warner, and when a tree knocked down our lines awhile back I still called them. The only issue was when I initially called to make the switch… They didn’t seem to know how to do it: Earthlink had me call Time Warner, who had me call Earthlink back. Took maybe 2 hours and 4-5 phone calls. Speeds: 15 down, 1.5 up.

  10. July 29, 2013 at 6:21 pm Kevin Yost responds:

    Why not do what I do by accessing the internet and e-mail at the public library? That is, if it is open and one can get to a branch and there are no problems with the internet there. If any of these are the case and I really need to use the internet then, I just pay a small amount of money at FedEx Office and use the internet there, but watch my time and money doing so there.

  11. We have been covering Time Warner Cable’s antics in the Flower City since 2008 (and occasionally going to war with them over things like usage caps) on Stop the Cap!

    Readers may be interested to know TWC today announced they are increasing the monthly rental fee for the cable modem to $5.99 a month, which is nothing more than a cash grab. We have complete coverage on how to buy your own and get rid of the modem fee.


    You don’t ever have to pay TWC’s regular prices for anything. In 2012, we began helping customers negotiate much better deals by threatening to walk their business to someone else. Rates have been lowered dramatically. Some of us are saving at least $700 a year without dropping any services. You can take 10 minutes and see what you can save following this advice:


    Phillip M. Dampier
    Editor, Stop the Cap!

  12. July 29, 2013 at 6:37 pm Eduardo Ricardo responds:

    There is blue frog, dialup service. Wondering just how slow 56k internet is, and if it is at all an option.

  13. July 29, 2013 at 7:33 pm Lincoln DeCoursey responds:

    Taking responsibility for your own cable modem is probably cost effective in the long run. A disadvantage is that when your Internet service goes down due to some line condition, you may hesitate to call for service since if the repair person comes out and the problem is actually with your premise equipment, the service call may be billable. Without a spare modem it may be difficult to diagnose whether the issue is the signal/line or your modem.

    As far as dialup, expect it would be much more painful today than you remember. Web sites are probably no longer designed with dialup as a consideration. Increased use of high res graphics, other factors which affect page size would make for a poor experience. Also dialup requires a plain old telephone company landline, something which is not cheap and generally the first thing a cost conscious consumer looks to cut. And remember your phone is busy while you’re dialed up.

    I agree with others here that TWC probably remains the best option for most. For the very price sensitive, especially those willing to accept lower speeds and police their usage, there are some options especially wireless for around $20 per month. Tethering your existing cell data plan through your PC or tablet could even be done. There are some budget-oriented cell providers in the prepaid market which specialize in sharing data allocation among devices. I saw one where you pay $6 per device per month to keep them online and share a data allowance among them. This could be a cost effective way to add a mobile data card to a PC if you already have a cell data need.

  14. Break the monopoly Time Warner has or regulate it as a utility.

  15. I echo what others have said about Frontier. Its internet service is awful. Slow and unreliable. I’d prefer to keep my money with the (mostly) Rochester-based company but my patience is wearing thin. Frontier has the rights to FiOs in the Rochester market after purchasing most of Verizon’s old land line business a couple of years ago. But for some dumb reason, they’re refusing to make the investment in fiber optic lines in our market. Until they do, they will continue to bleed customers and profits to Time Warner, who will in turn, continue to squeeze everything they can out of its near-monopolized customers.

    And to the guy who is judging the single mother of four who is forced to work for minimum wage, keep in mind that her children (and millions like them) are our nation’s future. We ought to be thinking about the impacts of their poverty on our nation’s next 100 years. Good jobs are disappearing in our nation as most of us are forced to work for pennies so that Wall Street suits can get millions in bonuses for returns to fellow rich stockholders. Valeant Pharmaceuticals and Warburg Pincus’ brutal rape of Bausch & Lomb for example… just look at the growth in Valeant stock since they announced that they are going to lay off thousands. I can just picture all of the super rich patting themselves on the back for a job well done while thousands of B&L employees have to confront a future that almost surely will mean lower pay, fewer benefits, and a lower quality of life. These 1 percenters are the people I have no sympathy for – Hell is full of them.

  16. Joe in Spencerport, isn’t it ironic that the nations with the highest internet speeds, most reliable power grids, best public infrastructure, etc. are the lefty, commie, pinko nations of Scandinavia and northern Europe? Maybe they’re onto something…

  17. Pingback: Why Time Warner Cable Can Jack Up Rates Willy-Nilly: Lack of Competition | Stop the Cap!

  18. Pingback: Press Suddenly Notices Time Warner Cable a Predatory Monopoly - »

  19. Just a little bit of info everyone should read about everyone should buy there own modem. Really TWC is working it’s way of getting out of the equipment business its starting with modems and will work it way towards set tops now you already get charged for cable boxes. Equipment is costly and needs to be updated every few years the next couple years TV’s will be able to stream everything needing no cable box @ all. There is an easy fix for the upset people just buy your own modem and be done with it and be glad we dont have comcast that charges $7 a month for a modem it could be worse.

  20. Stop flushing your money down the drain leasing a cable modem…buying one pays for itself in less than a year. http://www.pennywisecabletv.com/cable_modem.htm

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