Cutting the Cord

The day my former employer informed me that my services were no longer needed I immediately took two actions. I updated my mobile plans for my phone and iPad, and I cut my cable.

Specifically, I informed Verizon that the package of phone, Fios, TV, and internet I was paying a crazy $250 a month for was too expensive. I hated giving up my land line phone number that included 007, but I was ready to admit that keeping it because it works when the power is out was no longer a good enough reason to pay that much. Plus, last time the power went out, the phone went after eight or so hours.

The lovely person they routes me to spoke to her manager and offered me a reduced price on my package. It was maybe ten dollars less, and did not include the HBO subscription I had at the time. I pointed this out to her. She simply offered the same deal again.

Eventually I convinced her that the only service I want coming across that fiber optic is internet. We reached a deal and that was it. I had cut the cable. Until the next day when I took the cable boxes to one of their stores.

The clerk at the store tossed my boxes onto a ole and trashed the remotes, leaving me annoyed that I’d had to return them at all. In chatting I told her I’d went to just internet. She asked what I was paying and said it was too much. She could offer me double the speed at 60%the price. I was in.

But to do it, she had to cancel my current account and enroll me as a new customer. I agreed. Oh, and my equipment had to be upgraded. Ok. But she could not get a technician to my home for about a week. Gulp.

In the end I agreed. The following week was excruciating. I was trying to look for a job, and I was reliant on my phone as a hot spot, or my pay-as-you-go hot spot that I use for international travel. It felt like an eternity. I rationed my internet use. Finally, on the appointed day, a platoon of Verizon techs showed up to swap out the box installed in my closet. After a couple hours of work, the main technician helped me rename my new router and reset the password so that all my devices would not know anything had changed. And that was it.

I had become a 21st century streamer. I can no longer turn on the TV and be fed content. I have to think about what I want to watch. This was a hard transition. I’ve been using TV for company for many years. Sure, I had an AppleTV. But making it my  primary source for content selection was a huge shift. In my expense cutting process, during that no internet week, I had inventoried all my monthly subscriptions and cut several. But now I had to add back in something that provided live TV streaming. I settled on Sling. But soon after I added CBS, now Paramount +.

Weeks later the pandemic hit. I continued my job hunt using my new internet connection and bought a digital antenna for my bedroom TV. My available broadcast stations with it are not great, and the signal isn’t strong. I got a signal direction app and figured out how to aim the antenna and it improved, but it still went in and out–inevitably going out on Colbert’s punchline.

Once I accepted a new position, therefore had the expectation of continued income, I bought a Fire TV stick for the bedroom TV. With all the same apps as the living room AppleTV, at least I have parity, and if one system fails, I can turn to the other. The antenna is my desperation backup.

It’s been more than a year since I cut the cord and I would never go back.

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