This has been a tough week for me in many ways - but the thing that has made it more difficult is my cable service with Charter Communications.
I am a "basic" service customer. I don't get any of the channels that most people talk about at work. I don't get much of anything. To put it bluntly, I pay $30 a month for crap. Because of that - over the years - I have settled in to watching three particular channels when I needed time to veg out. They are now - gone.
Let me give you an overview of what my "basic" service use to look like:
5 public access channels (local government), yes FIVE
2 Public TV channels
4 local broadcast channels
(CBS, ABC, FOX - right wing coverage of the news; NBC mostly right wing)
6 channels that play old broadcast TV show repeats and sports
1 Shopping channel
CSPAN - nonexistent - I have been trying to get it for years. Even though CSPAN is totally funded by cable user fees, automatically put on your bill - - I can't get Charter to make it available to me.
And now they took away three of my channels - the channels I watch the most - but they are still charging me the same amount of money for the service.
Well, earlier this week - Charter decided that evidently giving me all these "terrific" channels - for $29.99 a month was too damn extravagant on their part. So they cut back my service (and a lot of other people) by three channels. Which happened to be the channels I watched the most. A 20% cut in service - but my bill will remain the same.
Talk about a monopoly! Charter is my only choice - I have to have Charter cable or no cable and I guess it will be no cable.
Now when you consider that there is NO ADDITIONAL COST for Charter to give me those channels - cause my neighbors are getting them and they all come over the same cable under the ground - you can only come to the conclusion that Charter Communications is intentionally screwing their poorest customers. Less channels - but you have to pay the same for the service.
The problem with this - is in today's society, people with "basic" service are those who can't afford the blinged out cable. They are also the people who will be less likely to complain. They are also the people that are going to be less likely to take a a stand - because for some, this is their only source of entertainment, something is better than nothing - even when they just got screwed by a communications giant. For most of them just having cable is a financial push. And all of us got a 20% cut in service - but will still be paying the same price.
So - while those of you with digital are watching your 125 channels service expand to 250 channels - know that jacka$$es like Charter Communications is making your service better by cutting the service of people who are the bottom of the cable $hit pile. Another example of how shit flows downhill.
When I think of what happened to me and millions of other "basic" service viewers this week and how we
got screwed and knowing that
Charter Communications, Member of ALEC Communications and Technology Task Force
that their shares are currently selling for $80.68
Sep 29, 2012
Total Revenue $1,880,000,000
Jun 29, 2012
Total Revenue $1,884,000,000
Mar 30, 2012
Total Revenue $1,827,000,000
Dec 30, 2011
Total Revenue $1,834,000,000
I can't help asking myself - why did Charter Communications decide to screw the least among us - with less service for the same price?
Why? The good old ALEC free-market philosophy
- REVENUES ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN PEOPLE
Oh - by the way, knowing this - I am cancelling my service.
It makes me angry every time I look at my TV.
(There's also the fact that when Charter goes completely digital - they will be requiring EVERYONE to put a digital conversion box in their house - which will be another new charge. Pay more so you can watch less.)
The additional problem:
I will then have 3 - ten year old TV's that I will need to get rid of - which will be a bigger challenge than kicking Charter to the curb.