18 Nov Breaking down cable TV internet phone packages
Some residents who are looking for a good deal when it comes to various communications and entertainment services for their homes will probably be very confused given the number of plans that are currently available in the market. Others may already be aware of terms such as “bundles” and “double play,” but most probably don’t really know what they actually mean. Cable TV internet phone packages are basically subscription plans that include one or more services, such as residential telephone, high-speed internet connections, cable television services, satellite television, and Voice over Internet (VoIP). These bundles are generally much cheaper to get when compared to getting the different services separately.
Although at times, internet service providers may use these bundles to upsell to customers, basically forcing them to buy services they don’t necessarily want or need. Customers will have to make sure that they need the services that are being offered before they sign on the dotted line.
The most common type of plan that is being offered by service providers is an internet-only plan. This internet only subscription is typically provided in different tiers depending on the connection speeds that are included. Plans with minimum internet connections speeds, which are different for each type of internet connection, are generally the cheapest option. These plans may cost anywhere from $15 to $30 per month depending on the service provider. There are currently multiple types of internet connectivity options, including but not limited to DSL, cable, fiber optics, satellite, and fixed wireless.
DSL internet is now one of the most common options seeing as that it utilizes presently the same infrastructure that is being used to bring telephone service to homes and businesses around the country. DSL internet is widely available around the country, and most homes may only have this option if they want to get connected. Minimum DSL speeds typically range from 5 megabits per second to 25 megabits per second depending on the service provider. Rates can reach up to 50 megabits per second for some providers, but these are mostly too expensive to be practical. Plans using this type of internet connectivity technology are also much cheaper to acquire when compared to other options.
Cable internet is the second most common internet connectivity option. Like DSL, cable internet utilizes an existing network infrastructure, only this time using the existing coaxial cable network that is being used to bring cable television service to homes and businesses. Coaxial cable wires can support much more bandwidth than traditional copper wires, which is why cable internet offers significantly faster internet connection speeds. Cable internet plans are a bit more expensive than DSL, but the rates they offer will often be well worth the price. Cable internet speeds generally range anywhere between 50 megabits per second up to 100 megabits per second. Cable internet service providers have been able to increase significantly the speeds that they offer using a relatively new technology called hybrid fiber-coaxial networks. With this technology, cable internet service providers are now able to provide internet connection speeds that can rival the speeds that are being offered by fiber optic providers. Some companies even offer internet speeds of up to 100 megabits per second for their most basic plans. These speeds can increase up to 1,000 megabits per second or even 2,000 megabits per second for higher end tiers. These plans will, of course, be costly and generally will cost customers hundreds of dollars per month to acquire.
Despite the incredible speeds that are being provided by more modern cable internet service providers, fiber optic internet remains to be the gold standard for residential internet access and cable tv internet phone packages. Unlike cable internet, fiber optic internet is a form of a dedicated connection. This means that the relationship itself is much more stable as it provides consistent speeds. A cable internet connection, on the other hand, is a form of shared connection, which is being shared by neighborhoods and select areas through a central hub. When there are too many people using the link at the same time, cable internet users may experience fluctuations. However, speed fluctuations are rarely felt by customers given the relatively fast connection speeds provided by cable providers. A drop of 10 or 20 megabits per second would hardly be noticeable for a cable connection with speeds of up to 200 megabits per second. While fiber optic internet connections may be the ideal subscription for residents, the technology does have one inherent problem that is the direct result of its recent development.
Fiber optic networks are currently still in their infancy, which means that it is now not yet available to most of the public. The service itself is now only available to larger cities and more developed areas around the country. Most resident probably won’t have access to it yet, but companies are continually expanding their networks to increase their coverage. The speeds that are provided by fiber optic internet connections are generally within the gigabit range. This means that this type of relationship will be perfect for households with multiple users who typically use their connections for heavy online activities such as Ultra HD 4K video streaming and daily online gaming. This type of relationship is also suitable for modern smart homes with numerous devices and systems relying on a stable internet connection. Homes with smart security systems, smart temperature controls, smart appliances, and other Internet of Things devices will significantly benefit from having a fiber optic internet connection.
Going back to cable TV internet phone bundle services, the types of services that will be included in packages offered by providers aside from an internet connection are cable television subscriptions and residential telephone service. Television service, which may include cable, satellite, or digital television, will generally allow users to have access to hundreds of exclusive channels from different networks. Basic television packages may consist of widespread channels such as Cartoon Network, Discovery, National Geographic, MTV, and digital versions of locally available programs. Premium subscriptions, on the other hand, may include exclusive channels from paid networks such as HBO and Cinemax. Often, providers will allow its customers to customize their television package by letting them choose different channel packs that have been segregated into different categories. Through these packs, customers can choose which channels will be included with their bundles. Some providers also offer HD channels that can take advantage of modern high-resolution television sets. Customers can also opt to get on-demand content such as pay-per-view and on-demand movies. Customers should be careful in reading the fine print as they may end up paying for channels and content that they may not necessarily want or need.
Finally, most bundled packages will include residential telephone service. This type of service can be installed either through traditional copper telephone lines, as is the case with DSL providers, or through digital voice transmissions. Either way, the service primarily functions the same way, allowing customers to make calls to other landlines and vice versa. Most of the higher tier subscriptions will include features such as unlimited local and nationwide calling. This basically lets them call anyone around the country with their landline. There are also subscriptions that allow calls to other countries, but this will, of course, depend on the type of bundle and the provider. Some companies also offer up additional services for free. This can include options such as caller ID, call waiting, voicemail, and call recording.
Before signing on the dotted line, customers should be wary of some factors that may be very common with cable tv internet phone packages. These packages will generally be coming with multi-year contracts that will not allow customers to end their subscriptions prematurely. Those who will terminate their agreement before the lock-in period ends may end up paying hundreds of dollars for an early termination fee. There are however some providers who offer no-contract deals. These are generally more favorable to get, but they may cost a little bit more when compared to subscriptions with multi-year contracts. Those who are planning to move out sometime soon or are perhaps waiting for newer technology such as fiber optic service in their area are better off temporarily getting subscriptions without any contracts. On the other hand, those that are planning to use the service for several years can get a lot of savings by merely purchasing the bundles with multi-year contracts attached to them. Depending on the provider, some subscriptions with multi-year contracts may include additional bonuses and freebies such as free gadgets or free service.
Deals can, of course, vary by provider, so customers are advised to take the time to check out all the deals that are available in their area. Finally, some transactions may be very misleading. In some cases, advertised monthly rates may only apply for a specific period. The price may then jump to a more expensive amount after some time, which means that customers should be cautious in reading the fine print on advertisement and promotional materials.