There are some things about America that I find mind-boggling.
Like ordering a cheese and ham toastie. Today, however, I’m shocked by the virtual monopoly TV and internet companies have on a zip code. In the UK, it’s a free-for-all, with all sorts of companies offering ever-cheaper services, but I’ve just found out that our particular zip code has an an EXCLUSIVE DEAL with Time Warner Cable.
I have not got the energy to go into the details of our problems with TWC but suffice to say that I think we pay way too much for an internet service that comes and goes, and 7billion TV channels, of which we watch about three. (And our rates keep mysteriously going up – to around $130 a month currently.) I’ve probably spent around 4 hours on the phone to them in the last month, with no budging of fees or offer to fix the internet problems.
All I want is a super-fast internet service and public TV. And I don’t really want to pay more than about $50 a month for it. We only really watch CNN, and then stream everything else. We are on a Breaking Bad marathon on Netflix (you don’t even have to get off the sofa to start the new episode people!!). OK, we’d miss out on the new series of Mad Man on AMC but it’s not like you can’t get it elsewhere.
I asked for advice on Park Slope Parents and a very nice Brit bloke called Keith emailed me back, saying, “We now have internet only service through Cablevision (around $30 per month) and purchased a Roku box for streaming TV shows plus a Boxee (with a Mohu Leaf antenna) for basic live TV (however we rarely use it – streaming works just fine for us)”.
Yet I’ve just been told by Cablevision customer service that they don’t work in areas where TWC cover. What kind of free-market insanity is that??
So what can I do? I’m held in a deathgrip with ghastly TWC, like a Nelson’s Lock with some sweaty, hairy wrestler. And it stinks.