Interview with a Cord Cutter (Part 1)
There has been much talk recently about the mindset and habits of “cord cutters” and “cord nevers”. But we rarely get to hear directly from this minority. Why have they chosen to reject our cozy media ecosystem? How are they surviving without traditional TV?
To get a glimpse into the mind of one of these digital renegades, I thought I would speak to a recent “cord cutter” and ask him some pointed questions. To protect his anonymity I’ll call him “Bill”. He’s a middle-aged Canadian living in a pleasant Toronto suburb. He’s married to “Sandra” with two teenaged sons.
Bill doesn’t seem to fit the profile of a cord cutter, given his age and situation. Also notable and contrary to expectations, Bill is impeccably ethical. He does not torrent or steal content.
Each cord cutter has a unique story, this is Bill’s:
1) Who was your service provider before you cut the cord?
2) What services did you have?
It was a package deal that included:
• PVR/Digital TV package that included basic HD package to digital terminals one of which was a PVR (the PVR rental was free for the first year. I think it had a 2-3 year commitment)
• Internet High-Speed package (originally included 80 GB of data per month, later upgraded to 120 GB because of getting stung with overage charges) speed was about 28 Mbps at the time.
• Rogers home phone (included 100 minutes of long distance in North America)
• Rogers smart phone family package 2 phones purchased at $150/phone, 1GB of data per month shared between phones, no texting included, $75/month
3) What was your experience?
We switched from Bell to Rogers. At first, we were happy, but the plan never evolved over the time we were subscribers. Prices went up, services never improved over the 5-6 years we were customers and the service, in our minds, really went downhill.
4) Why did you cut the cord, not just switch to another “traditional” provider?
There were a couple of things that were frustrating us. Costs were growing and we weren’t getting value for our dollar. We were dinged for internet overage charges a couple of times and then found out that we qualified for an upgrade from 80GB to 120GB per month if we replaced our old router and increased the rental on it by a buck a month.
Why not tell us this when we called to complain about the 30 dollar overage fee?
But the kicker for us was when we went to add another Smart-phone to our family Smart-phone package, (it was an android phone we purchased for a trip to Italy to save on telecom costs while there), and were told that doing so would cause the other two phones to be locked in for another three years!
We also weren’t happy with the quality of the TV signal we were getting over cable. A lot of the shows were heavily pixelated. We were paying for HD and the shows weren’t HD.
The PVR box was also really flaky at times. It would reboot on its own from time to time when you were watching it. Sometimes we had to manually force a reboot because we couldn’t get any signal.
The On-Demand movies were hit and miss at the beginning particularly during busy periods like a Friday or Saturday night. That did get much better over time, but we felt like we were getting gouged at $7.99 per HD movie.
We decided to cut the cord in the end because we felt that Rogers was being greedy and holding us ransom on our Smart Phone package. Customer service was lousy and we didn’t believe that switching to another provider would solve the problem. We had already fought with Bell about phone and internet services 5 years earlier and left them in disgust and had vowed to them they had lost our business forever.
29 September 2014
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of the author. The author is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information expressed herein. The author makes no claim as to the veracity or accuracy of any of the views or opinions expressed herein, nor does the author provide any warranties, either expressed or implied, as to the products or services mentioned in this article.