Cutting Only Part Of The Cord Could End Up Costing You More (At First)

A growing number of people are ditching cable and going Internet-only for their video entertainment. But cutting that cable cord could actually end up costing more for some customers — at least for the first six months to a year.

The Wall Street Journal compared the costs of Internet-only and TV/Internet bundles offered by three of the country’s largest cable providers — Comcast, Verizon FiOS and Time Warner Cable.

While Verizon and TWC prices for the basic TV/Internet package ($85/month and $50/month for 12 months, respectively) is slightly higher than the Internet-only options ($80/month and $45/month for 12 months), five dollars is not the massive savings one would expect by dropping hundreds of HD channels.

And the Journal says that in New York, Comcast charges $70/month for Internet-only, $20 higher than the basic TV/Internet bundle costs for the first six months.

Comcast says it’s not trying to punish cord-cutters with these pricing policies, but that it’s targeting “high-speed data customers who subscribe to a different video provider.” Isn’t that exactly what cord-cutters are?

Some claim that these pricing models are a way for cable providers to keep people subscribing to TV plans even when they don’t want it. This is of particular interest to Comcast, which also happens to now be one of the nation’s largest broadcasters after its acquisition of NBC Universal. Comcast needs NBC ad revenue, which means it has even more of an interest than its competitors in keeping people glued to their sets.

Of course, it’s not required that you watch TV just because you subscribe to it. And as some people point out to the Journal, the huge price hikes that tend to occur at the end of the promotional pricing period just leads to more cancellations.

“The deeper the discount, the higher the churn” says one anonymous cable exec.