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How One Consumer Cut His Cable Bill in Half

Here's the story of how one consumer stopped putting up with price hikes and switched providers to dramatically cut his TV costs.



January 17, 2014– Think there’s no point in switching cable providers? Think again. If your current provider is charging a high rate for TV service, you might want to look into other options out there.

That’s exactly what 43-year-old David Huff, a resident of Queens NY, did. Huff was a Time Warner Cable customer for over two years when he decided to switch TV providers.

“The bill kept getting higher and higher,” Huff says.

When Huff signed up for a Time Warner in May 2011, he opted for the Preferred TV package with whole house DVR service. The package featured 200 channels (including HBO and STARZ) and cost $79.99 for the first 12 months and $89.99 after that.

“I knew the discount was temporary, but it was just too good to pass up,” Huff says. With the whole house DVR service, Huff could start watching a TV show in one room, then pause it and watch the rest in another room.

“The service itself was included free with my package, but I had to pay the monthly rental fee for the DVRs,” Huff explains. That added an extra $34 a month to the bill, taking it up to $114 for the first year of service.The package also included several HDTV channels and a Time Warner TV service, which allowed him to watch TV on a computer, smartphone or tablet.

Huff says he was happy with the package until the first year was over. Once month 13 hit, HBO and Starz were no longer included in the package. To keep those two channels, he had to pay an extra $14.99 a month for the first three months. Then the cost went up to $19.99 a month for the following nine months. By the time Huff decided to cancel his service, his monthly bill had gone up to $143.99.

“I didn’t stay until the end of that second year, but I know the price for HBO was supposed to go up again after those nine months were up,” Huff says. Seeing his bill go up wasn’t the only reason Huff started thinking about changing providers.

“My wife was pregnant and bills were really high,” Huff explains. “It just didn’t make sense to spend so much money on cable when other expenses were more important.”

Huff says he did try to call Time Warner to lower his bill, but the offer he received was just a reduction for an additional three months.

“When I pressed them, they offered me free HBO for five months, but no other discount after that,” Huff says. “I didn’t think it was a good deal, so I started looking somewhere else.”

To get off the contract with Time Warner, he had to pay an early termination fee of $99 (he still had three months to go on his contract). Huff says he felt the fee was fair, so he decided to pay it without an argument.

“I figured I would make that money back in just a few months after switching to a cheaper provider,” Huff says.

How did he then search for a new provider? Huff says he used the Internet to compare options in the area where he lived. He then called around to ask local cable and satellite companies about what offers and additional discounts were available for new customers.

“I also asked my neighbors what they were using and whether they were happy with it,” he adds. “In the end, RCN was definitively the best thing I could find,” he says.

RCN offers Internet, phone, and cable service in Chicago and select areas of the Northeast, including Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and the D.C. Metro Area.

Huff says RCN offered him a package called “Signature Digital Cable with a Digital Converter.” The package was $64.99 per month the first year, and then went up to $69.99 for the second year. The low rate was only available to new customers.

He signed up for the package in February 2013. The package consisted of 230 channels, including 70 HD channels.

“I decided not to get HBO, because RCN offered HBO as part of a premium pack, which also included Cinemax, Starz and Showtime, and that package was an extra $30 per month,” Huff says. In the end, Huff says he didn’t need those channels and “decided to pocket the savings instead.”

On top of the all that, Huff was able to get the low deal without making a commitment to the provider.

“The deal I got comes with no contract, so I could walk away at any time without any penalties,” Huff says. And if he starts to experience price hikes again, perhaps he will walk away and score new customer discounts with another provider.