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Marianne Paskowski



Why I Don’t 'Triple Play'

July 5, 2007 12:17 PM

Today was one of the days when a fierce wind storm wiped out cable service for a good portion of Cape Cod for five hours. And it was another one of the days when I was once again so grateful that I was not a “triple play” subscriber for Comcast’s attractively priced bundle of video, voice and cable modem service.

A friend in the next town over who is a “triple play” sub called me from his cell this morning, moaning that he couldn’t go online, his phone was a goner and so was his cable. My philosophy is when you live on a spit of sand jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean, you just can’t put all of your eggs into one nest, and that’s why I have DSL, a landline phone and cable only for TV.

And I get all of that for just a few bucks more than if I were to buy the cable bundle, and peace of mind as the wind is whipping up around me right now. Actually, the phone companies have done a bang-up job of fighting fire with fire by offering DSL and unlimited long distance phone service on the cheap.

Cable’s triple play at first blush looks like a bargain, but with global warming and freak weather patterns erupting all over the country of late, I say thanks, but no “triple play” for me. That’s something for former vice president Al Gore to noodle over if he ever makes a sequel to his Oscar-winning docu, “An Inconvenient Truth.”

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Comments (16)

Gonzoguy:

Your telephone service is transmitted underground and your friend's cable wires are not? The same wind, or whatever, that apparently wiped out cable service could also zap telephone wires, so let's not get too twisted up over this.

Fact is, we increasingly rely on services that are vulnerable to interruptions, yet, like most people, we never back up our hard drives or seek backup communications connections. I'll "triple play" if the price and service quality is right, but I'll be sure to have at least a dial-up online connection, POTS (plain old telephone service), and a set of rabbit ears ready as backups.

cruiser:

Yo, Blondie --

What's the worry? Get FIOS and Triple Play simultaneously, so if one goes down maybe the other will still work. If your communications needs aren't important enough to justify spending on redundancy, don't sweat the outage. Read a book!

Cruisin not bruisin

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Gonzoguy,
No, my phone, cable and electricity are all out there still swinging in the wind, like my friend in the nearby town, who did not fare well with his triple play.

However, the point is that because I was not part of a bundled service that would choke off access to Internet or phone, I had a full productive day at work. Internet and phone are more important to me than TV.

Marianne

Marianne Paskowski:

Oy Cruiser,

For starters, FiOS is not an option for me, not avalable, and the redundancy in services, would be the same, unless FiOS wires underground, which they are doing in some communities in New York state. Smart. But FiOS is not coming to Cape Cod for a long long time.

Your pal,
Blondie

Jeff Mulligan:

Marianne,

Sorry that life is so tough out in the summer sun and fun of Cape Cod, but don't pick on cable's marketing ploy, Triple Play. FIOS services are just as vulnerable, although telcos have a longer track record running wired networks and repairing storm damage.

Maybe you need satellite phones and "the dish" out there on your "spit of sand."

Jeff

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Jeff,
No, I just need to lighten up. Actually, in retrospect, I wish the whole thing would have gone haywire, no phone, no Internet, no TV. I'm sure my friend in the next town over, had more fun than I did today. But, I'm playing hookey tomorow with my fabulous husband, tomorrow, and wanted to clear the decks.

I would say warmest, but I'm wearing a polar fleece,
Marianne

mreposter:

If there's one thing that the phone companies know about it's maintaining their networks. They've been in the wireline business for a century. The cable companies seem to have a much more hit-or-miss management style. Heck, the cable companies are still having trouble providing correct 911 service to their phone customers.

We have the luxury of many service options, some choose cable's triple-play, others perfer to pick and choose their service providers. Me, I use DirecTV, Earthlink DSL and ATT phone service.

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi,
Long time no see. You know, since I vented on this blog, I'm surprised nobody busted me yet, I do pay $50-ish for expanded basic, ala, no digital channels nor premiums. Kinda stupid, but whatever.

Interesting you like AT&T for phone. I dumped them,a year ago, and got a great package for unlimited local and long distance from Verizon. I've got pals all over the country, and as you might guess, I am very social.

Nobody, well, few, subscribe to DSL services,here, too many hurricanes.Hey we're happy if we have electricity.

Regards,
Marianne

Hi, did my column this week on the outage (& the notion of redundancy - and I agree that we can't afford to have only one option), mentioned your blog in it, email me if you'd like me to forward you a copy of The Packet or you can check it out in the archive here:

http://www.cctechcouncil.org/newsletter-archive

-teresa

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Teresa,

I'm a full timer here now. After yesterday's boomers I'm stunned we didn't lose power. Thanks for the mention. Oddly enough, my dentist's office in Orleans on Locust Street, next to the Comcast headend had cable modem service, the day we lost cable for 5 hours. Go figure.

Regards,
Marianne

Marianne Paskowski:

Ooops,

Major correction to my post back to mreposter. I said just about nobody has DSL. I meant DBS. The weather blows and so does my mind.

Marianne

mreposter:

Hey Marianne, glad to read your new column (after our interesting, if somewhat heated discussion of channel bundling.)

I'm in the midwest, so wind isn't too much of a problem for dish owners. Rain fade is an issue, but is still better than the service I was getting with Time Warner cable.

I work in IT, so I'm frequently asked about the various options for home broadband. Luckily, most people have plenty of choices, though people in more rural areas are still under-served. It's especially frustrating considering the number of subsidies and protections some of the telcos get that they still ignore all but the most profitable customers. If we're ever going to catch up with some of the european and asian countries, we're going to need some real telecom reform.

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi mreposter,

It's annoying that the telcos are getting state-wide franchises, endangering localism. Here in Mass, Verizon tried but didn't succeed. But here in Mass. Comcast wants out of the local access biz. Bizarre to me because those PEG channels are an advantage cable has over DBS.

Marianne

mreposter:

FYI, Marianne, Illinois is the latest state to go with statewide cable franchising. http://www.sj-r.com/News/stories/11416.asp

I'm torn on this issue. It makes sense to ditch the crazy-quilt of local laws and regulations to provide more consistent service, but then you lose the community input. Hopefully these state laws balance community input with business needs.

Marianne Paskowski:

mreposter:

I'm not torn at all. Local telecom authorities have different needs, like Chicago vs. Galesburg, a college town.

Marianne

Jeff Bertolucci:

Hi, Marianne,

My name is Jeff Bertolucci and I'm a freelance writer working on an article for Kiplinger's Personal Finance on triple-play packages. I came upon your blog here and found your comments very interesting--particularly the point about how putting all your telecom eggs in one basket can be a serious problem during a storm. Would you be interested in a brief phone interview on this? Basically, I want a consumer's view on the topic. I can be reached at bertolucci@sbcglobal.net. Thanks. -Jeff

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