So I’ve had Cablevision for years. I mean, except for the couple of years I lived in Queens and when I was in college, I’ve basically had Cablevision my whole life. The service overall has been pretty good but the prices have been rising steadily. When I signed up a couple years ago for the Optimum Triple Play — TV, internet, and phone service — my bill came to like $90-$100. That’s a pretty good price for all 3 services as far as I’m concerned. It helped that Cablevision was for years the top-rated ISP in the country – I’d get 20 mbps down and 8 mbps up all the time. Over time they added caps to upload and I haven’t seen uploads over 2 mbps in a residential Optimum line in years, though at work I see ~5 mbps up over cable. I’ve moved around a lot over the past few years and I’ve kept Cablevision in each location and the service has always been at least acceptable. With this latest move, the service is still good, but download speed seems to top out around 8 mbps. That’s certainly not terrible, but not as good as the 15 mbps I was getting in the previous house.
Earlier this year I got a 1080p LCD tv and when I went to swap the SD cable box for a HD one I decided to get a DVR, which added $10/month to my bill, so for the past 9-10 months my Cable bill has been about $150/month (I lost the Triple Play promo pricing years ago). FiOS has been marketing hard around here and everyone who I’ve spoken to who has FiOS says it’s awesome. I checked the pricing online and Verizon is offering their own Triple Play for $99/month with 25mbps/15mbps Internet, FiOS digital voice (no POTS line), and HD tv. Since I still see ads on TV for Optimum for each service for $30/month ($90/month total) I figured I’d call Cablevision and see if I could get the promo pricing. Short answer: no. The rep said I could try the cancellation department.
At this point I was kind of pissed off. I’m paying $150/month when Cablevision is offering $90/month to new subscribers (plus $10/month for DVR, so $100/month). Then I spoke to a couple of guys at work who were going from FiOS TO Cablevision – they’re getting the $88/month pricing INCLUDING DVR. They got a 2-year price guarantee and NO CONTRACT! Wow, I thought, Cablevision is shafting me with this $150/month.
I decided to call FiOS and see what they’re offering pricewise. I figured it would be cheaper than Cablevision, and then I could call Cablevision and have them give me the Triple Play promo pricing. Well, I was on the phone with FiOS for about an hour and got 25/15 internet, 1 HD “family” DVR, 1 SD box and FiOS Digital Voice. I CAN port my number over from Cablevision (the webpage said I couldn’t, which was why I called them). Installation fee waived, base price is $99.99/month + $16/month for the DVR (free for the first 3 months), with an additional $10/month savings for 12 months applied upfront ($120 credit) and a credit for the set-top box applied upfront ($71). I opted for the $150 Visa gift card. The estimate for the taxes & fees is $11.68, so I’m guessing my monthly bill will be around $130 (not factoring in the 3-months of free DVR). So my guess for 12 months (factoring in the up-front credits and the gift card) is about $1,200. At my current rate with Cablevision that would be about $1,800. With Verizon I have a 24-month price lock and a 12-month contract.
I placed the order for FiOS and then called up Cablevision to tell them I was planning to cancel. Basically the best they would offer me was $124 a month, “$30 less than you’ll be paying after the price increase in December,” the rep said. What? They’re INCREASING rates? When I mentioned that the download speeds kind of suck, she offered to add Boost to my account for another $10/month, so it would be $133/month to be able to compete with FiOS speedwise. I said ok, thanks, but I didn’t cancel yet since my account needs to be active for Verizon to port over my number.
So as of now Verizon is supposed to come install FiOS on Friday. I’ll miss Cablevision and their lack of contracts and some of the other perks (Optimum WiFi was nice the few times I used it, and the free access to Newsday.com was cool), but in the end it seems like FiOS is a better service for less money. Maybe in 12 months when my contract runs out Cablevision will have changed their tune and I’ll go back. Oh well.