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Life After the Optimum Triple Play Can Get Pricey, But It Might Not

Yesterday in the mail I finally found out what life was going to be like after the first 12 months of Cablevision's Optimum Triple Play is over -- our new bill shows an almost 34 percent rate hike to just under $162 per month for Internet, phone, cable and a DVR. This is what I signed up for, of course, but it still comes as a shock. I guess I'd been hoping that, the economy being what it is, Cablevision would throw us a bone and extend it for a year or three. Seeing that big number makes it tempting to switch again, but, then, after my last go-round with switching service providers wound up in an unexplained disruption in our WiFi, it's not a path I want to go down again. (Cablevision was very gracious and fixed it in the end, I must say.)

But there's still hope. When I tweeted about the uptick in our Cablevision bill today, just for fun, I got a number of suggestions from friends and acquaintances on how to beat the system. Here's the feedback I've gotten so far:

  1. You can call and talk them down. Threaten to get DirecTV, etc.
  2. Throw in Dish TV as part of dual threat. Cable MSOs hate the threat of satellite. If you want to get bold, also tell them that Verizon and ATT just laid down fiber optic in the area, both of which offer 10 to 20 times faster baud rates on their Internet services than cable modem service.
  3. A little research and you can calculate the customer acquisition cost for the Triple Play. Trust me... they lose you after a year and they lost money on you. They need you for 5-10 years. You have the power.
Now, I admit, none of the suggestions is rocket science-- I probably would have tried some version of the 'I might walk' strategy without this input -- but the comments struck me for two reasons: I've never gotten so much feedback, so fast, when I've tweeted about a consumer issue, and, it shows how potentially devastating informed, empowered, connected consumers can be; we all know what the game is in the telco wars, and rather than the companies just playing us, we're getting better at playing them. I unintentionally just crowdsourced a way to get the cable bill down, without having to switch to another service. I'll keep all of you posted on how I make out.