Gee, What’s A Poor Broadband User To Do?

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end, and the special “loyal customer” discount I’ve been getting on my broadband service – over which my Phone.com VoIP is carried – has ended.

Century Link had been charging me what I admit is a rock-bottom $20 a month for 12 Mb/s service, with a modest upload speed of less than 1 Mb/s. Suddenly, the company wants to more than double that, to $50 a month. Alternately, for another $10 a month, I can jump to 20 Mb/s a month service (which by my math is $720 a year).

But what’s a guy to do? The only competition at this point is Comcast. Now the cable company is offering me 20 Mb/s for just $30 a month for the first six months, jumping to $45 for another six, and then to $63 after that (in other words, $756 per year). Now obviously, counting on my fingers, that means I’d be paying Comcast $450 the first year, which sounds good except for the little asterisk that says “plus equipment, installation, and taxes.” And finding out how much that will be in advance is like pulling teeth from a duck.

I have a feeling that many of my readers are facing the same quandary, and from conversations with a lot of people, I find that they’re taking double, triple or even quadruple play packages because of what’s become a fairly outrageous price for those who buy just one service from one of these giant companies. Indeed large corporations, which buy enough bandwidth to dictate their own terms, don’t face that kind of pressure, but small businesses and residential users certainly do.

Now I should explain that I have no real interest in paying for TV shows, so out go the deals that include cable or satellite TV. (It’s not that I’m anti-TV. I have a home theatre, get dozens of digital channels over the air, have lots of Blue Ray and DVD discs (and even some old VHS tapes plus a player), and watch stuff over the Internet regularly from several different sources.)

And I have no interest in a landline telephone. Gosh, that’s why I use Phone.com! So there goes that bundle opportunity. And although the competing broadband providers would love to see me sign up for their VoIP services, the simple fact is that, for the price, Phone.com offers far more features and flexibility for a small- to medium-size user at a far more attractive price.

As for throwing in a cell phone, I simply don’t use the right mobile carrier for such a bundle here in Denver (and I do have one of the latest 4G LTE phones, by the way).

So there go all the discount bundles.

Ah, what to do … if anyone has a suggestion, please send it my way …