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AOL/TW Plans for $230 Monthly Cable Bill 352

Posted by michael
from the one-wire-to-bind-them-all dept.
Jonathan Campbell writes: "According to the article, subscribers will get over the sticker shock preferring convenience over price." Yay, it'll be so convenient having one company control my television, internet access and phone service. I can hardly wait.
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AOL/TW Plans for $230 Monthly Cable Bill

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  • by eaddict (148006)
    I have DSL already... our cable bill for extended Basic just went up to $50/month. We have decided at the next raise cable goes. My DSL may not be as fast but in the 2+ years I have had it I have paid the same amount. I can't say that for cable.
    • "our cable bill for extended Basic just went up to $50/month."

      Something like that happened to me as well, except they also yanked HBO 2 off of the extented basic as they upped the price. It was about that time I took notice of the various deals DirecTV was offering. $30-something for gobs more channels, as well as deals on hardware (which you own instead of rent) and installation.
    • by Jucius Maximus (229128) <zyrbmf5j4x@sn k m a i l.com> on Saturday January 12, 2002 @01:56PM (#2829064) Homepage Journal
      "I have DSL already... our cable bill for extended Basic just went up to $50/month. We have decided at the next raise cable goes."

      These discussions about american cable and internet access prices always shock me. In comparison to my country (Canada) the US has a much higher population density. And therefore, for technologies like DSL and cable which require more hardware per distance from the central office, it should be LESS expensive to deploy these in the US in comparison to Canada since on average, the american companies should get more subscribers (and revenue) per amount of hardware:

      For example (In Canada, monthly costs:)
      Cable TV (deluxe package): CDN$44.34 [shoprogers.com]
      DSL (worst case): CDN$24.95 [sympatico.ca]
      Phone Service (Sprint): CDN$19.95 [sprint.ca]

      Total: CDN$89.24 or US$55.93 for DSL, long distance and cable TV.

      Now to me, US$200+ for all that stuff is a rip-off in the extreme. I honestly don't know how Americans have put up with prices being pumped up this high and not revolting. These prices are certainly more than inflated and you are well justtified in complaining.

      Note (1): I pay abour CDN$30/month for internet access, but that's because I don't live in an area with broadband coverage, and my package includes dual-dialup multilink and a shell account.

      Note (2): The deluxe packages for Canadian satellite TV are more in the CDN$40/month range.

      • Total: CDN$89.24 or US$55.93 for DSL, long distance and cable TV.

        Now to me, US$200+ for all that stuff is a rip-off in the extreme.

        It is a ripoff...but consider that NYC is one of the most expensive places to live in the US, and it's also up there among the most expensive places in the world. In most of the rest of the country (a place of which most people from New York and LA deny its existence), rates are nowhere near that bad. In Las Vegas, I pay about $80 to the cable company ($50 for 512/128 business-class cable-modem service with modem rental and a static IP and the balance for standard analog cable service) and about $15+long distance to the phone company. That's still more than you're paying, but not too much more and nowhere near as nasty as $230/month.

        (Remind me to never move to an area where AOHell runs the cable company...if I'm forced into such a move, then I'd have to make the switch to DSL and satellite TV. Now if there was only some way to get Cox to dump CNN, TBS, etc...)

      • Where the hell are you getting DSL for C$25?

        I'm subscribed to Telus (nee Sympatico) DSL in British Columbia. I pay $45 per month, modem-included. If you're getting it for $25, then I'm being screwed, and I want to know why, and how I can get unscrewed.
    • Cable was such a waste anyways. I don't need it for the local channels, and I certainly never watched TV that much anyways. The two or three programs I DO watch I can download from somewhere easily enough. Is it perfectly legitimate, no, but somehow I don't feel too guilty about it.

      -Restil
  • I cannot think of a Telco service combination that is wort 230 dollars usian to me. And the only thing that unnerves me more is that this is probably someplace near where Microsoft wants to go someday. Maybe.

    AOLTW vs MS. what a choice.

  • Ok, I admit to being "sticker shocked", but seriously what do I get for that kind of money? I assume that it will be a PPV model in which they hope I will go nuts ordering movies? Or is that a flat rate? Anyone know?
  • Current Phone Bell (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rogerl (143996)
    Well, I guess it is possible. My current Cincinnati Bell phone bell runs about 200 per month, but that includes two phone lines (one with all of the calling services), two cell phones, ISP, ADSL, and long distance. Time Warner AOHell is going to to have to offer more than just cable and ISP / Cable Modem to get me to pay that much.
  • I hope that the $230 is if you get all the premium channels, plus road runner, plus digital TV, etc. I know someone with a $150/mo bill now, but they have all that crap.

    I've got basic plus Road Runner. If my bill rises too much, I will switch to DSL and satellite.
  • $230 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stinkydog (191778) <sd.strangedog@net> on Saturday January 12, 2002 @11:29AM (#2828495) Homepage
    $230-$80(Cable Basic&2 premium)-$50(DSL)-$30(local phone)=$70

    What additional services will they provide for $70?

    A pay-per-view p0rn0 and a hooker?

    AOL is smoking crack. Provide reliable desirable services first, then decide what you are able to charge for each one.
    • Re:$230 (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Sandlund (226344)
      Not to mention that:

      a) the phone company will cut the price of DSL to retain customers and

      b) the phone company will cut the price of local phone service even more aggressively to retain its cash cow customers.

      Competition is a wonderful thing. The local phone companies have a lot of room to make pricing changes as they've mostly amoritized the cost of most of their infrastructure. Wonder how Wall Street will react to AOL/TW's moves after the first Verizon price cut in Manhattan? Or the first complaints about AOL/TW's local phone service?
      • Hello..Hello...Operator I have an emergency...beep..beep..beep. *The Line You Have Reached is Busy, Please Try AOL Keyword 9-1-1* Kidding Aside from my point of view I see double billing up the...I use my broadband cable connection as my phone, for important calls I carry a cell (voicemail, caller id etc..), I do not use the local telco for anything. My cost is 50 bucks a month thats a long way away from 230
    • Re:$230 (Score:3, Insightful)

      by funkman (13736)
      The final $70 can easily be made up by extras to phone service like voice mail, caller id, etc. Add in long distance and you can make up the final $70 dollars easy.


      Where the real money will come from is by attempting to replace Blockbuster or your local video rental store. If they can charge $5 dollars per movie and the average family views 5 moview per month - there is an easy $25 dollars. Not much money - but over thousands of households - not hard to ignore.

      • If you're trying to replace Blockbuster, then check out Netflix [netflix.com] -- no late fees, and the DVDs get delivered by the mailman. I doubt that any "movies on demand" system is going to be a Blockbuster killer, since with a rental system you get to have the movie over a period of days, and the opportunity to watch it multiple times or episodically. (And the episodic capability is really nice if you've got little kids. I've now only got half-hour chunks of time in which to watch movies.)
        • Re:Yeah, but... (Score:3, Interesting)

          by stripes (3681)
          I doubt that any "movies on demand" system is going to be a Blockbuster killer, since with a rental system you get to have the movie over a period of days, and the opportunity to watch it multiple times or episodically. (And the episodic capability is really nice if you've got little kids.

          If they replace the existing dumb cable box with a TiVo-like (and TiVo is a leading contender since they seem to want to license to everyone) box, they can stash the PPV on the TiVo after you order it and you can watch it over the next few days like a normal rental (or months depending on how they set it up, and how much else you want to stash on the box).

          The advantage over NetFlix is it could take a lot less time for the movie to get to your set top (depending on how frequently they transmit the movie you picked), the disadvantage would most likely be a much smaller selection. Plus it's likely not to have all the extras like a good DVD does.

          I don't think I pay over $150 on all my phone/TV/connectivity stuff. I don't care if it goes to one place, or to five like it does now, so long as the service I get is of the quality I want, and I continue to have a choice of providers so I can vote with me feet if one pisses me off (for me this is hardest with my IP access - I can't find anyone affordable except the local cableco, and my TiVo - not only would I have to buy another PVR, but the others don't seem to fit my needs as well).

      • The final $70 can easily be made up by extras to phone service like voice mail, caller id, etc. Add in long distance and you can make up the final $70 dollars easy.

        Long distance is not part of the bargain yet, and they had better make that servive free as it will be no better than any current voice over IP. Unless they tap into the local phone sytem they will you will not be able to place calls to anyone except those who have another stupid AOL modem. If they follow their own goofey propriatory stuff there like they do with their ISP service, then it will be worse than the usual voice over IP stuff as you will not be able to place calls to friends who you give software to. I want them to compete in the telco market, but I want others to be able to compete in the cable market and shake these turkeys down to real expectations.

        As for the rest of it, fat chance. For seventy bucks, I can buy one kick ass answering machine, and people generally leave their number on an answering machine. For seventy bucks a month, I'm sure I could get a real ansering service staffed by people who will screen my calls for me, endure direct marketers and other garbage. Will AOL do that? Not if their email service is any guide, "You've got spam!". For movies, the local rental store is lucky if they can squeze $8/month from me. I doubt that AOL can match the local video store for variety and ease of use. They would have to have EVERYTHING and a good search engine. Nice as that would be, it won't be worth more than $8/month.

      • He includede $30 for telephone. That better damn well include the extra services. Basic telephone service where I am (Verizon, MA) is only $18 a month.
    • If I'm getting that, I'd expect 24/7 pay-per-view access, 24/7 porno, any On-Demand movie I want for free, and every single channel they can cram in the cable band.

      I also expect an unrestricted U/L and D/L line on my Internet connection, the ability to put up a server, tech support for any computer problem I have, and a 99.9% guaranteed uptime on the line.

      And I want caller ID, call waiting, every single other feature on my phone, the ability to block business (telemarketer) calls, and the best voicemail system known to man.

      Then, and only then, would it be a good deal. Sure, you could toss a free hooker per month for shits and giggles.
      • Re:$230 (Score:2, Interesting)

        by scoove (71173)
        I'd expect 24/7 pay-per-view access
        $10 and up per pay-per-view item... probably $200-$300 worth of use.

        24/7 porno
        A few nights a week at $8 per movie - another $100 or more.

        any On-Demand movie I want for free
        Another $100 or more...

        and every single channel they can cram in the cable band.
        Licensing and fees to the subscription channel providers = perhaps $200 or more depending on your market.

        I also expect an unrestricted U/L and D/L line on my Internet connection

        UUNET/Sprint T1 = $800/month...

        the ability to put up a server
        See above (included)

        tech support for any computer problem I have

        Reasonable rate of $65/hour, assuming you're calling only during office hours. Reasonable estimate of 5 hours/month = around $250...

        and a 99.9% guaranteed uptime on the line
        SLA for UUNET/Sprint. See above. Definitely business grade T1 service.

        And I want caller ID, call waiting, every single other feature on my phone, the ability to block business (telemarketer) calls, and the best voicemail system known to man.

        At least another $100.

        TOTAL BILL: $2,000+ / month

        And you want this for $200? What the hell are you paying with, Flooz? You'll probably have similar results...

        *scoove*
        But I wanna pony!
        • Re:$230 (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Jimmy_B (129296) <slashdot@jimrandom h . o rg> on Saturday January 12, 2002 @06:19PM (#2830093) Homepage
          It's very interesting how you came to that $2K/month number. In fact, looking over the components of that, I object to *every* number you put into that.
          I'd expect 24/7 pay-per-view access $10 and up per pay-per-view item... probably $200-$300 worth of use.

          He didn't say "24/7 FREE pay-per-view access", and neither did he say he would be using it 40-60 hours/month, as your number implies.
          24/7 porno

          A few nights a week at $8 per movie - another $100 or more.

          Where'd that $8/movie number come from? And how is this hypothetical buyer possibly going to have free time for this *and* 50 hours per month of pay-per-view?
          any On-Demand movie I want for free

          Another $100 or more...

          For $100/month, you could go to a theater every time you felt like watching a movie, and watch it on much better equipment. Off by a factor of 3 or 4.
          and every single channel they can cram in the cable band.

          Licensing and fees to the subscription channel providers = perhaps $200 or more depending on your market.

          Off by a factor of five or more. Current cable providers fill the cable as it is already; you don't see them getting away with $200/month, do you?
          I also expect an unrestricted U/L and D/L line on my Internet connection

          UUNET/Sprint T1 = $800/month...

          Everyone knows that T1 prices are a joke. Also, the price you're quoting includes business-class service (which you added MORE cost on for later), non-trivial installation, and 100% bandwidth use (which no home user reaches), and is rediculous anyways. Compare against business-class uncapped DSL to be more reasonable.
          the ability to put up a server See above (included)

          "Ability to put up a server" and "ability to put up a 5-million-hit-a-day web server" are completely different things. Many DSL providers give you this privelege, so long as you don't abuse it, and you certainly don't need a T1 for it.
          tech support for any computer problem I have

          Reasonable rate of $65/hour, assuming you're calling only during office hours. Reasonable estimate of 5 hours/month = around $250...

          The only reason for 5 hours/month is if either (a) 4 of them are on hold, (b) the support is extremely incompetent, or (c) the service gives you too many problems in need of supporting. Either way, that's completely unacceptable for $65/hour, so your "reasonable estimate" of 5 hours/month is completely unreasonable.
          and a 99.9% guaranteed uptime on the line

          SLA for UUNET/Sprint. See above. Definitely business grade T1 service.

          Three-nines uptime is "business grade T1 service"? Add one more nine to that, maybe two for a higher price. 43 minutes downtime per month would be consumer-level standard if the DSL providers weren't so blatantly incompetent.
          And I want caller ID, call waiting, every single other feature on my phone, the ability to block business (telemarketer) calls, and the best voicemail system known to man. At least another $100.

          Actually, this is more like $0/month, plus a one-time bill for a fancy phone with an LCD. None of these actually cost the provider any substantial amount, and they're certainly not worth $100/month.
          TOTAL BILL: $2,000+ / month
          You added another $250 in rounding - and, of course, all the numbers you used to get there were bogus anyways.
          And you want this for $200? What the hell are you paying with, Flooz? You'll probably have similar results...
          $200 is low, but it's in the right ballpark. Your figure is rediculous; why it's at +5 is beyond me.
    • Re:$230 (Score:2, Insightful)

      by JLouder (203304)
      What additional services will they provide for $70?

      Maybe they'll stop blocking inbound port 80 on my RoadRunner connection.

      Seriously, if I'm going to pay that kind of money, I'd expect unrestricted Internet access.
    • Re:$230 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sgs-Cruz (526085) on Saturday January 12, 2002 @02:03PM (#2829111) Homepage Journal
      Jeez, that's the monopoly fee, didn't you know? They landed on DSL Service, Local Phone Service, and Cable Service, and have now appeared to have built hotels on all...
  • Betting? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nidhogg (161640) <shr.thanatos@NoSPAM.gmail.com> on Saturday January 12, 2002 @11:30AM (#2828506) Journal
    1. The cable company is betting consumers will see the value of one-stop shopping. But first Time Warner Cable will have get customers past the sticker shock of seeing $230 on their bill.


    Isn't that the same bet that fired off the dot com craze?

    And we all know how well that worked out.

  • i pay $130.

    i get analog cable, digital cable, and all the movie channels. about 250 channels in all.

    i get cable modem access with 1mbit down and 788 up. yes, 788 up.

    i get my telephone, call waiting, caller id, and call notes.

    i get my home alarm and fire alarm monitiored.

    so for me, if they toss in something my TiVo could use (video on demand, video file sharing across my local LAN, etc) then sure i will pay more. i can see $200 being an easy target as they make more things i want.

    - BUT -

    i currently don't use Time Warner or Road Runner...so they aren't even getting my money now b/c in houston, they don't offer a package like what i listed above.
  • by gelfling (6534) on Saturday January 12, 2002 @11:34AM (#2828522) Homepage Journal
    they have to provide a midget to change the channels for me, and serve me food.
  • Well I don't know about other /.ers, but for once I'm glad I have Comcast where I live instead of TW. Also, this should be a good time to buy stock in direct tv and other sattalite services, because anyone with a brain will be switching off their TW cable when this happens.
  • Damn Right! (Score:2, Insightful)

    All this time, I've been using three first-class stamps to mail my ISP, cable, and phone bills. $230 will be a small price to pay for the "convenience" of only having to use one!

    Seriously, I would say I currently pay about $130/month total for cable modem/cable television (Adelphia, formerly @Home/Adelphia) and phone service... I can't think of *anything* that would justify my paying another $70-100 a month for the services I currently receive.
  • by plone (140417)
    Here in Canada, Rogers charges $40 for internet access, $90 for cable (not basic) and about $40 for cell phone. That only comes up to about $170 per month, which in American Dollars is only about $112.
  • Yes and No (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Heem (448667) on Saturday January 12, 2002 @11:40AM (#2828553) Homepage Journal
    I would easily pay one fee to one company for all those services, but be damn sure that it is NOT going to be AOL or MS, sorry but it would have to be to a company that has at least proven it self to be semi-retuable. I use comcast now for cable. I don't use cable TV, but I am kicking around the idea. Supposedly the new comcast plan is going to include some form of IP-telephony (at the cost of my newsgroups I hear, so add another bill for 3rd party news server) $230 is PROBABLY a fair price for all the things they claim to offer, but, ever try to get tech support from AOL? Before I moved in with my fiance and enlightened her to the fact that AOL is not the only place to get internet service (people REALLY still dont know this) I tried several times to get a few things working a little better for her. All I wanted was someone who could speak even a LITTLE tech so I could figure out something that was actually quite simple, but I coudlnt solve without a little technical insight onto how the service works. Now, imagine if you had to call AOL tech support because your service is down. Wait you cant. They host your telephone too. Email them. oops. cant do that. Oh well, I guess I'll go watch some TV while they work out the bugs themselves. OH NO! I cant do that either! I think you all get my point.

    • I would easily pay one fee to one company for all those services, but be damn sure that it is NOT going to be AOL or MS, sorry but it would have to be to a company that has at least proven it self to be semi-retuable

      I'm sorry, but I can't fathom a smaller company providing this kind of buffet of services. Right now, only AT&T seems to be able to do it.

      MS will have a tough time jumping into the market, unless they purchase one of the bigger media conglomerates and a data/telco company.

      If the market were more fair, I'd be certain that some local players would be able to compete, but the deregulation of the indudstry, combined with all of the mega mergers, will virtually guarantee that only maybe 3-6 players will ever exist in this market.

    • You are focusing only on the AOL and ignoring the TW. I currently have cable from TW and I use Road Runner, TW's cable ISP. The service is good. The cable and RoadRunner, with 2 premium channels, costs us about $80/month.

      I've never seen the so called cable bandwidth hog problem with RoadRunner. The tech support is 24/7, and they usually know what they're talking about.

      The AOL part of TW has gotten a lot smaller in recent time. Most of the execs are from the TW side, many top AOL execs were passed over. I think it is unfair to lambast AOL/TW for the AOL part and look past the benifits of the TW part.
  • This always was the case in the UK, cableco's have been providing telephony services before the net came along :-

    DigitalTV & Phone = £25
    Cable Modem = £25
    Second Line = £5
    My average phone bill = £20

    Total = £75 (~$110 USD)

    Then you have PPV on top of that if required. The competition like BT charge around £40 ($55) just for ADSL, they completely shaft people but they need the cash to fund their spurious patent claims.

    Anyway, you can see why companies love subscriptions, I can't wait until I have to rent all my music!
  • NTL (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Fembot (442827)
    Here in the UK we allready have that. NTL offers cable modems, cable tv, cheap phone lines all down the same wire all with one bill. $200+ sounds excessive though. They even have pay per view films.
    • Re:NTL (Score:2, Interesting)

      by kaiidth (104315)
      If NTL has the same pricing structure as BlueYonder/Telewest [telewest.co.uk], which I think it does, you're looking at:

      35 pounds per month for Internet+telephone+basic TV (the standard five channels or whatever)

      An extra 25 per month gets you free local and national calls; in fact, an extra 40 quid per month gets you free calls and everything possible on the TV channels front. So for 75 pounds a month you have just about every service they offer, minus I suppose the pay-per-view porn services.

      That's just a bit over 100 dollars or so.

      Conclusion: AOL/TW can dream on.
  • "I think people will get over the sticker shock," he added. "They will like the convenience."

    Wasn't that Iridium's [archive.org] business model? It didn't do Motorola [cnet.com] a whole lotta good, either, even after they bought a $2B system from $25M.

    woof.

    If we all save the money we aren't spending on condoms, we could buy AOL/T-W next year! Or not, when you look at the bucks Rusty's [kuro5hin.org] raking in.

    • Different markets tho; Motorola had competition. Cable competition is lacking. And when competition is lacking... well, you want it, you pay.

      Just wait 'til the monthly $450 Windows XP charges start rolling in. People sure will 'like the convenience'... but unless the anti-trust cases work out, that'll be the only game in town if you want to use anything electronic.
  • "Yay, it'll be so convenient having one company control my television, internet access and phone service. I can hardly wait."
    Don't forget that they also provide a lot of the contents on both TV and the Net.

    One of the first things I was taught during my classes in mass-communication was to keep content-makers, content-owners, network-owners, network programmers and network-gatekeepers as separate as possible...

    I think you can figure out yourself what happens if all those functions are in the hands of one MegaCorp.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "you have bills!"
  • Wrong tactics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by peripatetic_bum (211859) on Saturday January 12, 2002 @12:00PM (#2828637) Homepage Journal
    I think AOL/TW may have made a tactical mistake.

    It seems that if you nickel&dime people, they will pay because the pain of each payment is little. But when you see a big nu mber like $230 dollars, that pain is much much greater than the individual smallers pains. And the individial smaller pains if you add them all up, wont feel like a $230 pain, if you get my meaning.

    As many have already pointed out, this is great for competition,
    and it may be a shock to the cable tv industry if large numbers of people balk at the large price increases.

    Also, as many have noted before, we are at logger heads here, As computer tech gets cheaper and chearper, we get used to it, but the cable tv industry doesnt think like that, they beleive in always increases the price and this just might be the thing to shock them into dropping their prices.

    anyway thanks
  • The article mentions phone service. If they do add services like that, it might be cheaper to chop the phone for some people. It would still represent an increase for me over cable modem, all movie expendatures, local phone, logn distance and cell phone. The good news is that someone in the cable industy is trying to compete with the phone companies.

    The problem is not that AOL is greedy, the problem is that we have not assured compitition in the cable market. It is improperly regulated, so we can expect the greedheads to screw us.

    They have another thing comming with price resistance however. Cable where I live is already too expensive at sixty five bucks for "basic" and modem service. "Basic" is essentially broadcast TV so we don't get it. The modem charge is about fifty bucks and the bastards block port 80 and 25 inbound. If the try to charge anymore they lose me. I want more from the thing, not less. They can continue to collect $50/month from me and let me figure out how to use it as a phone, or they they can jump in the river.

  • by jht (5006) on Saturday January 12, 2002 @12:07PM (#2828665) Homepage Journal
    I look, for instance, at the menu of services we consume here:

    Cable Internet (AT&T) - $50
    Local telephone (with all the services but voicemail - Verizon) - $60
    Long distance (AT&T) - $50
    Cable television (AT&T - local channels only) $14)
    Alarm monitoring (ADT) $26

    That's $200/month worth of services that are coming in on two wires to my house. And we don't get any of the more advanced cable services - just analog antenna service. If I want analog basic cable, it's another $20. If I want premium channels, the total bill hits that $230 mark and only goes up from there.

    What I don't really do at this point, though, is take advantage of any service bundling yet - though AT&T has been pushing real hard in this area to get local and long distance bundled with my cable line. I haven't bitten yet but if I do it'll save me about $15/month. It's just not worth the trouble yet. So I use two wires instead of one.

    I have no issue with the total price, so long as they save me money over the cost of buying all the services I need separately from separate vendors. I'll stick to multiple bills if there's no price reason to switch.

    I guess the real interesting thing is how much communications takes out of the monthly budget. I look at that $200 figure I cited above, and that doesn't include our cell phone ($35), OmniSky ($29, but it's getting dumped this spring), and my Blackberry ($40, paid by my work). All together, that's a lot of money for communications service of one sort or another. And remember, my cable TV bill is tiny. A lot of people pay for premium services - equivalent to adding my OmniSky to the cable bill.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see that the average household communications total bill comes close to that $200 mark already. If AOL starts offering things like security monitoring over their wire as well, the $230 is probably a reasonable goal.
    • by Wire Tap (61370) <`frisina' `at' `atlanticbb.net'> on Saturday January 12, 2002 @12:46PM (#2828800)
      Cable Internet (AT&T) - $50
      Local telephone (with all the services but voicemail - Verizon) - $60
      Long distance (AT&T) - $50
      Cable television (AT&T - local channels only) $14)
      Alarm monitoring (ADT) $26


      I pay $30 a month for my cable modem.
      Local telephone service? I certianly don't pay $60 every month for it. Try $30, if that.
      Long distance - are we talking about your calls, or the provider? I don't know of a provider on the planet that charges $50 just for their service - that's because they would be out of business so fast they would never be IN business.
      Cable TV... wait... you said local? If You want local channels only (which defeats the primary purpose of cable television), I'd suggest you use an antenna. And that comes down to a cost of $0 per month.
      As for the alarm monitoring, I have no idea, so I'l stick with your pricing on that. $26 per month.

      If we add all that up, I only come up with a fine little sum of $86. Now, that's more like it. If you actually _NEED_ all that crap on your phone bill (460 way calling, or whatever it is now) then you can't possibly expect that everyone affected by this pricing scheme feels the same way. It's absurd to even assume a faction of that. Regardless, if people don't like the fees, they should learn to live with less - OR, get an organized complaint together and tell this monopolistic corporation to take a look at their business practices. I would NEVER commit to paying $230 per month for all that trash. I don't need half of it, and I sure would not want it from them.
      • I wish I could pay $30 for the cable modem - I do rent my modem ($10/month), but it's still $40/month here even if I own the modem. My parents are served by Cablevision in Connecticut, and they do have the $30/month rate from Optimum Online. Better still - since Cablevision owns the "Nobody Beats The Wiz" electronics chain, they took advantage of a promotion that let them get a $100 gift card when they bought the $100 modem. Net modem cost - $0. We have no such cross-ownership deals in Eastern Massachusetts, where I live.

        The local telephone price includes unlimited usage anywhere in MA except for the 413 (Western MA) LATA. No per-minute charges. The long distance price is the average monthly bill. The fee is $4, but usage drives it up, of course. I'm married, and both my wife and I have plenty of friends out-of-state (and all of our families). Between us, that usage is an average month. I mostly communicate via computer (lots o' e-mail), but she uses the phone a lot. And I mean a lot.

        As for cable TV, I've tried the antenna. In fact, for the first 7 years I owned my house, I refused to get cable. I finally got tired of crappy reception and gave in. I also get $5 off my cable modem bill for having TV service, too. Otherwise it would be $55. Even at $50 it's still the cheapest broadband I've used thus far.

        Now, do I _need_ everything I buy for communications service? Of course not. But I can afford it, and I like some of the conveniences these services give me. The average Slashdot reader is not who AOLTW is thinking of when they set rates. There's a lot of TV addiction out there and people who think nothing of paying $80/month for digital everything cable TV. That's who AOLTW figures will see that $230 bill in the end.

        Besides - based on the articles here I read, a lot of the Slashdot readers get their TV by hacking DirecTV dishes... Cost - $0!
    • 1) Many people won't get and don't need the monitoring on the alarm system (they don't HAVE one)

      2) I pay $60 for two lines from Verizon.

      3) I pay $50 for a combined loop from Verizon and ISP from Internet America.

      4) I don't make many long-distance calls ($50 from AT&T presumes a call volume...)- many people regulate their usage such that they don't have a regular bill for long distance calling.

      So, let's re-work those numbers...

      Cable Internet (AT&T) - $50
      Local telephone (with all the services butv oicemail - Verizon) - $60
      Cable television (AT&T - local channels only) $14)

      Total for just Cable, Phone, and ISP : $124

      Even then, this is kind of extravagant as most people don't have all the features, Cable and/or Cable Internet. Having said this, the amount for that is a very far cry from the $200+ that AOL/TW are grabbing for. Now maybe the bundled deal is nice for those that can afford it, most people will not blow $200+ except the upper middle class and above where the pain of that is not as noticable. (I accept and tolerate the $130 or so I'm spending on things- the $200+ would result in me quickly looking for alternatives such as Dish network and other ISP options.)
    • $50 for long distance? At a reasonable 5 cents per minute that would be 1000 minutes, or 16 hours 45 minutes per month on long distance calls. That's not 16 3/4 hours of calls, that's 16 3/4 of long distance calls. Considering that any work-related long distance calls are likely 800 numbers or called using you cell phone (which should be paid by you work if you're taking work calls "off-hours" or travel as I do) and most other calls will be local, I don't know where you come up with this number from. Considering there are on average 4 weekends per month that would mean slightly more than 4 hours per weekend talking on the phone long distance. Wow! That's a little bit too much time on the phone for me.
  • This will be great! Maybe I can get rid of PacBell now, and switch over to AOL/TW. They're SURE to give me better service than the consumer-oriented folks at PacBell.

    I'm so happy! Yay! Conglomerates sure do add value to society!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 12, 2002 @12:08PM (#2828673)
    Basic Cable: $60
    3 Premium Channels: $25
    DSL Connection: $45
    Basic Phone Services: $30
    Some hellspawned idea about "convenience over price": $70
    A monopoly and the knowledge you can get away with the latter: Priceless

    There are some things money can't buy. For others, there's AOL
  • They better give you a few public ips, let you run servers and at least 512kps upstream... (getting 256kps now for one tenth that)
  • Time Warner Digital cable is $80
    Local phone from Verizon is $40
    Cable Internet $50
    Long Distance Anyone's guess

    Does the package include international calls in the price? How about pay per view and all the extra pay channels? If you get unlimited worlwide long distance and local phone service then it's a great deal.
  • The article doesn't say that the bill will be $230, but rather can be. They will attempt to do what AT&T Broadband is right now: data, phone, entertainment.

    Right now, here's what my AT&T monthly bills (no, they haven't consolidated billing yet) are: $50 for internet access, $25 for a minimal phone line (no features, only dial tone and long distance capability), and maybe $10 for long distance.

    That's only $85/month right now. Were I paying for my extended basic cable (available because I must be the only one in Salt Lake City who has the internet and phone package, but doesn't want cable -- no filters available!), I'd be paying another $25/month.

    So, that's $110.

    Throw in all of the telephone perks: call waiting, caller-id, anonymous call blocking, telemarketer screening, voice mail, etc. Now that's probably another $50/month

    So that brings the total to $160/mo!

    Now, add all of the cable perks: digital cable (I want my Tech TV!), premium movie channels, PPV pr0n, etc. That can easily be another $75.

    So that brings up the total to $235/month!

    So the $230/month for TW/AOL's consolidated services is no shock.

  • by guttentag (313541) on Saturday January 12, 2002 @12:15PM (#2828701) Journal
    Let's pull out marketing's trusty "Stupidity-Laziness Curve," shall we?

    \
    \P=People
    P\W=Wealth
    ___\_
    W

    At one end of the curve you have people who have made enough money to afford this service, but they have become lazy enough to pay the extra $70/month for the "convenience."

    At the other end of the curve are the people who can't afford the service but are stupid enough to believe it's of value, so they subscribe anyway.

    The distribution of people on this curve is great enough that the service sells and becomes a model for other other companies to copy.

  • AOL/TW already shot themselves in the foot for us. I predict that customers will take that "convenience" and stick it up their fscking ass! Lemme see: satellite instead of cable TV, DSL/satellite instead of cable internet, and phone lines (or cell phones) instead of cable phone. I've seen MS pull some brain dead shit, but damn...AOL/TW is just a lot stupider than I thought. (And it's bad enough that AOL charges $25/mo for a damn 56K service.)

    Do everybody a favor and send this story to all on your AOL lamers and TW cable users. Maybe we can get them in droves.
  • by TomatoMan (93630) on Saturday January 12, 2002 @12:32PM (#2828766) Homepage Journal
    If they're going to charge me $230/mo, this is the level of service I'd expect:

    1.5mb down / 640k up, or thereabouts, with no usage caps
    4-8 static IPs
    a kick-ass news server
    all ports open, no service-sniffing
    the right to run servers and do whatever the hell I want with my bandwidth
    priority tech support numbers to people who actually know what they're talking about
    pricing refunds for downtime

    ok, and throw in the basic cable and local phone. That's about what I'd expect for $230.

    Even with all that, I don't think I'd ever trust a "provider" like AOL enough to put all my eggs in their basket.
  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday January 12, 2002 @12:34PM (#2828774)
    Not because people will be against having a sinlge company provide all their services (in fact I'm sure many want it), but because the price is outrageous. Let's take pricing on some local (Tucson) services:

    Analogue phone line: $16/month
    Basic Digital Cable: $45/month
    Consumer grade DSL or CM: $50/month

    All tolled that gives us about $111 per month, and yes I factored taxes in that. That makes the AOL package over twice as expensive. Now just for the sake of argument, let's assume they give you more than just basic service. In all reality we know that won't happen, but hey, we'll assume they give you something comparable to what I have:

    Analogue phone line: $16/month
    Extended Digital Cable: $60/month
    Professional grade SDSL: $120/month

    That's still only $196. To match the AOL price, I'd have to buy 3 premium networks per month (and with digital cable, that gives me about 10 channels per network). Plus, I really doubt they'll offer anything more than basic digital service and just normal CM service, making the first comparison more likely.

    Personally, I think the idea of all-in-one providers is a good idea, provided there are several to choose from. However the reason it would be cool is that in theory it should save you money. Companies should be willing to charge you less overall in return for the fact that you buy more services form them. Cox already does this. You get a discount if you get both a cable modem and digital cable. It's been effective too, it encourages digital cable subscribers to get a CM instead of DSL, and encourages people with CMs and cable to upgrade to digital cable.

    AOL is full of it if they think people are going to pay that much more for one provider service, espically since for most people it is probably going to be double the cost. If they want people to go for this they are going to need to make ti at the very least comparable and probably cheaper than getting all the services seperatly.
    • The article didn't go into specific services. If they give you unlimited worldwide long distance then it's a great deal.
      • Ya, but somehow I get the feeling they aren't going to do this. If the deal was that great, it probably would have been mentioned in the article. You'll get a phone line, perhaps some nice features like call wating and so on, digital cable service of some kind, and cable modem type internet access. I really don't think they'll offer more than that, this is AOL we are talking about here.
  • I can see the competition's advertisements. It'll depict Time Warner cable installers having nothing to do, waiting for the telephone to ring...

    Seriously, how can be suits so brain-dead to actually believe that the people will merrily fork-over $230 per month for cable????

  • by alecto (42429) on Saturday January 12, 2002 @12:54PM (#2828822) Homepage
    That's the lesson learned by Sprint ION. ION provided four telephone lines, 8MB down/1MB up DSL (bandwidth shared with voice), and a bucketload of free long distance.

    What, besides lack of marketing killed it? Bundling all that together made customers realize they were paying two hundred bucks for telecommunications! Guess what'll happen when AOL/TW tries the same thing?

  • "I think people will get over the sticker shock," he added. "They will like the convenience."

    Heck, we bought the Hollywood Diet and pet psychologists.
  • Hmm... A little elementary math shows this to be the exact OPPOSITE of what AOL Time Warner claimed during their merger talks: That it would benefit consumers through cost savings passed on in lower prices.

    $200 for AOL Time Warner vs. My current bills of about $150 per month.

    Cable TV $45
    Cable modem $45
    Telephone $50-$60 depending on how much I talk

    Tell me where the benefit to me is? I'll have the privelege of paying the conglomerate through the nose for these services on "one-bill"?

    Thanks, but no thanks.
  • How about cellular phone service, with free long distance and unlimited calling, roaming in the entire US? Now how much would you pay? But wait! There's more.... Wireless internet from your phone or wireless PDA? Keep thinking big, you'll get to $230 fast.
  • I don't mind what kind of lame ass package AOL/Time Warner thinks up, and I don't care how much it
    costs. It could cost $1000 and I don't care.

    As long as I can get the cable modem service
    separate from all the other junk and still pay the
    same price (~$50 here), I'll be happy.

    Now if AOL/Time Warner forces everyone who wants
    a cable modem to buy all the other crap, that would
    be a different story. I hope they don't plan on replacing all of their cable services with this one package.
  • $1,984,177.35 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by TrumpetPower! (190615) <ben@trumpetpower.com> on Saturday January 12, 2002 @01:47PM (#2829018) Homepage

    If you were to invest $230/month at a 10% annual rate, compounded annually, from the time you were 20 to the time you were 65, you'd have two million dollars in the bank.

    So, which would you rather have: AOL's ultimate media package, or multiple millions in the bank when you retired?

    b&

    • By which time, after inflation, it would be worth... $230
    • Re:$1,984,177.35 (Score:3, Interesting)

      by alcmena (312085)
      If you enjoy something, why deprive yourself for 45 years for some mythical retirement fund. You may not live 45 more years. The stock market can tank and take the money you saved with you. Or any number of other things.

      I'm not saying that you shouldn't save. You should plan for the future. Just remember, you can always earn more money, time comes in a fixed amount.
    • I didn't know my grandmother read Slashdot. Hi, Grandmom!
  • But it won't happen under the current administration. The current head of the FCC says that the concept of a "common carrier" is obsolete.
  • If only they dropped some of the restrictions in the process. Uncap the upstream and provide static ip addresses with no silly restrictions on server usage.

    If these things were to take place, it'd be a bargian compared to what I'm paying for similar unrestricted service. But although they'll definitely lose some customers, I don't see them letting up on anything. Wouldn't make much sense from their point of view.

    The fact of the matter is, they're just trying to survive. They suffer from the same problem every other dot com was suffering from. Trying to offer more than they're realisticly able to, and they're losing money in the process. This is all they can do to avoid bleeding cash.

    -Restil
  • Folks, it's called DirecTV. Why let the cable company stick it to you? They have two way data, as well, and although it's not ideal for everyone due to latency, why give your money to the local cable monopoly?

    As far as phone service goes, I can't be the only one that's given up a landline for cellular. There's no need to give ANY of your money to AOL/Time Warner. Remember, they can't sell it if you don't buy it.

  • ...is what will happen when Comcast and AT&T and all the rest of the cable providers see AOL/TM actually get away with doing this! The airlines have enjoyed a legalized price-fixing scheme for years: When one airline jacks up its fares, the others follow suit, and the public follows along like dumb sheep. Does anyone here really think AOL/TM competitors will sit by idly while AOL/TM rakes in the dough?

    I think not...the fact that AOL/TM is putting their future revenue-collection tactics on public display is evidence that they could use some "extra" support from the rest of the cable industry to help them out in fleecing their customers.
  • Yay, it'll be so convenient having one company control my television, internet access and phone service. I can hardly wait.

    Move to the UK. I have NTL's [askntl.com] cable TV, cable modem service and two phone lines. Price? £72.97 per month, ie. about $102.16 (for around 30/35 channels I think).

    Cheers,
    Ian

  • $230 a month does not sound too bad. They are talking Canadian, right?
  • More and more I've moved from a pro-business stance to a pro-small business stance. Big businesses can (and do) to easily not give a damn about you if you provide < 0.0001% of their revenue stream. So I'm an AOHell/TW customer, I shell out $230/month, they dominate the market because "one stop shopping" is just THE thing to do, right? Now I have a problem. What am I going to do, cancel? If I do, will they even care? I already have Road Runner and they already don't give a damn about me as witnessed by their customer service. It's fun to call the 24 hour line to be told there's no one from RR in. Call back between foo and bar.


    In short, I'm going to get my services from as many different places as I can, and as small a place as I can so they'll actually be motivated to CARE if I'm not happy with their service. If you want any decent quality of service, I strongly recommend you do the same.

  • "Yay, it'll be so convenient having one company control my television, internet access and phone service. I can hardly wait."

    Like AT&T global? They control my cable TV, phone, cell phone, and my roommates ISP. (I use someone else for my ISP).

    So what's the difference here? You get one bill instead of my current 4? This would be nice if my cable and home phone and cell were on one bill, I'd be able to write one check instead of 3.

    I think with the phone you have a choice, but cable you don't. My condo has rules about getting satelite. It has to be approved and proven that it will not damage the property. No real big deal, just a hastle. If I were to throw in a dish and it was determined it did damage to the building or something then I could get in trouble. That's why they have the approval. And yes they can do that it is in the regulations which were approved by the condo owners.

    • My condo has rules about getting satelite

      There is a federal law written and passed a few years ago that supersedes all condo regulations, neighborhood associations, housing covenants, etc. that allows you to have a DBS satellite. (ie one of the 18" ones) I believe it to be called the Satellite Home Viewer Act of 1994. Your condo may not allow it if you damage it but they can't tell you you can't put the satellite on a pole in a bucket of concrete on your balcony.

  • Let's see.
    Cable - $39.99
    Cable Modem - $49.99 ($39.99 if you have cable)
    Phone - $14 - $39, depnding on extra services, without Long Distance.

    Hmmm.. at most that's $130... So where does $230 exactly come from?
  • I mean, come on... I get 3mbps internet for $25, full-featured cable tv (if I actually wanted it) for about $35 complete with on-demand programming and premium channels, and my local phone service is $21 per month. AOL is looking more and more like M$ V2.0. Can someone please explain why on earth I would want to pay almost three times as much to an out of town company who is known to provide crap software and service? (If you are wondering about the software part, ever have to deal with a winbox that had had an "AOL Adapter" installed?)
  • Econ... (Score:5, Funny)

    by ocie (6659) on Saturday January 12, 2002 @05:16PM (#2829852) Homepage
    This must be why I did so poorly in my econ class. I thought that allowing companys to merge and destroy competition lowered prices and improved service to customers. Good thing I got this cushy programmer's job:)

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