There are some folk who don't see the gem inside my rough exterior who might consider me a hot head. To which I say a hearty "bite me". But let this opinion be a caution that within this blog may lurk items of a venting nature or perhaps those which might be considered a rant. So be it. Proceed with caution. You have been warned.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Soul Sucking - Cable Company Style

About 13 years ago I signed up with the local cable company. Since Des Moines is the equivalent of a little cow town sitting in the middle of nowhere when it comes to modern conveniences, there was only the one company. Our cable bill at that time was $30. I’m sure that by now anyone that has even heard of cable TV can see where this is going. Our cable bill last month was $80. No premium channels, no TIVO or other DVR, no cable box to eliminate punching in arcane codes to get each channel, no frills, just basic cable. $80 a month.

We’ve made several attempts to get some kind of satellite TV either DISH or DIRECTTV but we have this enormous 80+ year old oak tree in the way on the south side of the house. One installer came out and told us how much of the tree we would have to cut away to allow the dish to view the satellites. Four hundred dollars worth of tree work later the next installer told us we should have cut away more. So rather than keep pouring money into tree work and perhaps endangering the life of the tree we stopped going down that path.

So now we are trying to cut the cord by way of antenna TV and streaming internet. Our broadband connection is provided by our phone company and it has been satisfactory up to now. Service when needed has been courteous and prompt. Just last month our modem was swapped out at no cost to us either for the service call or the hardware. However this is DSL. And slow DSL at that coming in at purported speed of 1.5 mbps – when the wind is right and you hold your mouth just so. Contacting the company about higher speeds revealed they are not available because they are dependent on fiber optics and we are trapped in the 1950s Des Moines.

A couple of hours of frantic googling revealed that the only non-business route to higher speed broadband here in Hog Hollow is through (dramatic pause) our cable company! Their rates start at $29.95 the first year, but then start the periodic (monthly) increases so familiar from their cable TV service. So in order to get rid of cable and have a high speed internet feed we have to deal with the very company we are trying to escape from. This is capitalism? Who gave these guys this monopoly? This company (that rhymes with PediaPom) has a license to commit obscene acts on their customers without so much as dinner or a kiss.

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