Reader “phillipe23″ wants cable service, but because of his rural location it will cost him $9,060. He already has satellite, but his reception is very spotty. It seems that when the bad weather rolls in his service goes out. Clinging to the the hope that cable could be the answer to his problems, he contacted Time Warner for some relief. So what did the ever-sympathetic cable giant have to say? phillipe23’s letter, and our advice, inside…
I want to get off Directv. Time Warner is the local cable company, so I called them and asked if we could get service.
They said that our address wasn’t in their system (the house is only about 3 or 4 years old and has always been serviced by Directv) and they’d have to do a survey and get back to us in a few days. After a few days, they called to say that our house was not serviceable.
That was about a year and a half ago. About every six months I’d call up after getting sick of my Directv signal going out when it would snow or rain and ask again if I could get service from Time Warner — the answer always being “no.
Until last week. Last week they called back and left me a message saying I could get service as long as I paid for the build-out. The build-out would cost $10,860 of which Time Warner would cover $1,800, leaving my portion of the costs at $9,060.
Now, if I lived back on a private road and was asking them to lay cable back for a few miles, I could understand this, but I live on a State Route and my house is all of 70 feet from the road. Furthermore, I’ve seen TW trucks parked just down the street, less than a 1/4 mile.
Unfortunately, if you live in an unincorporated area, such as “phillipe23,” your leverage with the cable companies can be limited. Cable companies typically only have agreements with densely populated locales, thus excluding many would be customers. However, there are a few things worth trying. Start by gathering information from your local government. Not all small towns are the same, but most have a town clerk. He or she can put you in contact with those who have information about Time Warner’s agreement which allows them to use your town’s rights-of-way for cable. With any luck, there is something within this agreement to help your cause. You can also attend town meetings which would grant you easy access to the town council and other local movers and shakers. Additionally, you could band together with your neighbors in order to divide any build-out cost, and to communicate to Time Warner that they have a bevy of potential customers. Perhaps the sound of your collective opening wallets is the sweet music Time Warner needs to get in the mood.