What to do!

We are aware that the major communications carriers, i.e. Verizon, Comcast, etc. are raising rates and also requiring fully digital services. Please read this article in its entirety before calling your existing carrier or a competitor.
We wrote an article several months ago titled “Cancel Your Cable?” This article addresses deciding between having or not having cable. We will address some other issues below that have consumers questioning their cable services.

The first thing to do when you receive information that you will need something else or an additional charge has been added to your service is to call your carrier. No one likes to call the comm. companies & getting a human being can take a while, but you have the right to review your services with them, find out if there are any options to keep your costs where they are, or even lower them, i.e. bundling, removing channels, etc. When you buy a cell phone, you probably spend hours in the store not selecting the phone, but selecting the service that fits your lifestyle. Why not do the same with your communications carrier.

Then, if you are not happy with the end result from your existing carrier, you need to call another communications carrier that services your area. Be sure to have a grocery list of services so you can compare Apples to Apples. If the other carrier doesn’t offer wireless services and this was bundled into the plan offered by your existing carrier, then you need to remove that cost and be sure you have the “non-bundled cost” to compare. So, before calling, review the carriers’ websites to see what services they offer.

Note: Communications carriers provide these services: landlines, cell phone (not all), cable, Internet and even security. But, they don’t all offer the same services, i.e. Comcast doesn’t offer cell phone service like Verizon does.

After you have figured out what your communications services will cost, you then can compare them to the cost of changing services. But, there is one more factor to consider before you decide to change carriers; how will it impact your technology infrastructure and what is the cost to make those needed changes. These charges can more than offset the savings gained from switching providers.

Here are things that would have to be modified when you change systems and are not included in the cost to change services.

1) Remote programming: if you have a universal remote, you will have to have it reprogrammed to use (with the new equipment required for) the service. Communication carriers can set up their remote, i.e. the one that comes with a new cable box, but they will not touch a universal remote. Other (components) remotes may also need to be reprogrammed (if they interacted with things like the cable box) such as a smart TV or audio system.

2) Network infrastructure: if you have set up a network infrastructure tied to your cable’s existing service, the network infrastructure will have to be re-engineered to accommodate how the new carrier functions. For example; if you switch to Comcast and have your network set up for Verizon, there could be additional cables and or equipment required for the existing network to operate correctly. The extent of the re-engineering depends on the service that you get and the equipment that they provide.

3) Stability of the new service:
You might want to check with neighbors who have the competitive service to see what they think it. How often do they lose their cable? If you are considering changing Internet too, what speed do they have and is it reliable.

The big question is what do the numbers work out to? If you are saving $25 per month by choosing another carrier, that totals $600 over a 2 year period. If it costs $500 to make the necessary remote or network adjustments the net savings is only $100. That begs the question… Is $100 worth the pain of the change to another carrier?