Framingham Online News

Framingham Cable "Deals"

Filed under: Technology by Randy Harris at 9:53 pm on May 14, 2010

FRAMINGHAM, MA - Ever since Community Cablevision came to town in the 1970's, one-by-one, most people took down the rabbit ears or roof-top antennae and ran coaxial cable into their homes instead.

1979 - Framingham Community Cablevision logo

Framingham Community Cablevision, logo, (1979).

Today there are several options available to Framingham residents in regard to how they obtain "tv signal".

Choices range from using a digital converter box connected to those old rabbit ears or aerial antennae, by "cable", by satellite -- or a popular choice lately: foregoing traditional formal television programming and watching news, entertainment and other forms of video on an internet connected device.

Cable providers have long realized that improvements in speed and quality of online video transmission would make people less dependent on traditional television as a media source and today cable tv is usually bundled into some form of broadband cable access.

Framingham's cable t.v., internet and residential phone needs are served primarily by three companies;  Comcast, RCN and Verizon.

Each company markets their service by brand name or sales-mark, (e.g.- FIOS, MACH-10, XFINITY, etc), this is an effort to stop you from easily comparing their services to those of their competitors, and to attempt to differentiate themselves, (even though they all offer basically the same things). When shopping for broadband don't let the brand names or package names confuse you -- compare service to service, speed to speed, option to option, and number and type of channels to similar number and type from each company.

The table below lists the ala carte' pricing for t.v., internet and phone with low end, high end and medium services levels for each (if available), then low end and high end bundled package pricing and each company's current promotion and contact info.

Service RCN Verizon Comcast
Cable TV

LOW END: $37.40/mo - "Essentials" cable tv includes 70 to 80 channels and converter box.
HIGH END: $90.40/mo - "all inclusive package", (plus the cost of premium movie channels, Pay-Per-View events, etc).
LOW END: $12.99/mo for (FIOS) "local service package"
MEDIUM: $64.99/mo - "Prime High-Def", (approx 220 channels).
MEDIUM: $74.99/mo - "Extreme", (approx 320 channels).
HIGH END: $89.99/mo - "Ultimate", (approx 385 channels), includes premium channels, Showtime, Flix, NFL, Movie Channel.

DirectTV bundled where FIOS not available.

LOW END: $16.00/mo - "Basic" cable, channels 2-22.
MEDIUM: $39.95/mo - "Digital Economy", includes "Basic" and adds 25 channels more from the 22-99 range and some in the 200's).
HIGH END: $57.65/mo - "Digital Starter", channels 2-99.

ADD-ON: "Preferred" package, adds high numbered channels above 200, ADD $16.95/mo to "Basic" or "Digital Starter" pkg.

Internet 1.5 Mb - $40/mo

10 Mb - $65/mo

20 Mb - $90/mo

(add $5.00/mo modem fee or purchase own modem)

15/5 - $54.99/mo* - FIOS

25/25 - $69.99/mo*- FIOS

50/20 - $144.99/mo*- FIOS

*(save $5.00.mo off FIOS with Verizon home phone service).

(DSL available in some areas when FIOS is not).

1Mb - $41.95/mo

12 Mb - $59.95/mo

16Mb - $69.95/mo

22Mb - $77.95/mo, "Ultra"

50Mb - $116.95, "Extreme"

(add $5.00/mo modem fee or purchase own modem)

Phone
HIGH END: (the only plan from RCN) $50/mo - unlimited local and long distance, voice-mail, caller ID and most common features included with service, (excludes international calling, directory assistance, etc).
LOW END: $12.70/mo "Measured Service", (NOTE: add $0.01 per call, and $0.016 per minute).
MEDIUM: $19.64/mo - "Unlimited Local".
HIGH END: $49.99/mo - "Freedom Essentials" unlimited calling to anywhere in US & Canada, includes call waiting, caller ID, call forwarding, 3-way calling, voice mail.
LOW END: $24.95 - "Local w/More" - Framingham and adjoining cities/town only, ($0.05/min for calls outside area).
HIGH END: $44.95 - unlimited long distance, 13 calling features, (plus $5.00/mo equipment fee).
Bundle
LOW END: $78/mo Bundle - includes "Essentials" cable, 1.5 MB internet and phone. 1 Year contract. Must use RCN cable box.
HIGH END: $135/mo includes "Premiere" cable, 10 MB internet, phone and also includes RCN DVR Cable box. 1 Year contract.
CURRENT SPECIAL: $95/mo - 1 year, 10MB, Premiere Cable w/Signature & phone
LOW END: $109.00 "Good Bundle", (Triple Play), includes "Freedom Essentials" Plan phone, 15/5 internet, and "Prime High-Def" tv package.
HIGH END: $139.99/mo "Best Triple Play" includes "Freedom Essentials" phone plan, 35/35 internet, and "Ultimate" tv package.
CURRENT SPECIAL: $99.00  for "Good Bundle (Triple Play)" for (24) months, avail through June 26, 2010.
LOW END: - "Triple Play Economy Bundle", $79.85, includes Digital Economy, 1MB internet, "Local w/More" phone.
HIGH END: $199/mo includes Digital Stater, Preferred and Premium Movie Channels, 16MB internet, unlimited phone, and Standard or HD DVR.
CURRENT SPECIAL: $159/mo for 1 YEAR, then to $174/mo second year. (Offer ends June 20, 2010).
Contact Info
RCN
518 Union Avenue
Framingham, MA 01702
Tel: (800) 746-4726
www.rcn.com/boston/
Verizon
150 Worcester Road, Unit 1
Framingham, MA 01702
Tel: (508) 879-2916
www.verizon.com/fiostv
Comcast
14 Burr St
Framingham, MA 01701
Tel: (800) 266-2278
www.comcast.com
•  Mb as used above refers to megabits per second, which is the rated download speed of the internet connection, (upload speeds are usually lower).

• Verizon rates their FIOS internet speed in megabits as "download speed / upload speed", e.g. - "15/5" means 15 Mb downloads and 5 Mb uploads.

• Many of the phone services listed above are "voice over IP", (VOIP), services, not traditional copper "twisted pair" phone lines and require broadband dropbox and converter.

• Unless service states equipment is included, monthly charges apply in most cases for cable boxes, DVR's, modems, and other electronic equipment.

• Prices do not include taxes, fees or other charges which may apply.

• Information based on telephone interview of representative from each company.  Each was informed that this would be "general information" for Framingham residents.

• Check with each company for actual rates, fees, and service availability based on your address, specific services and install date.

Information and rates current as of May 14, 2001

An average Framingham family that wants cable tv (with a fair number of channels), internet with enough speed for typical modern use, and an unlimited local/national phone calling plan (with basic phone features like call waiting, voice mail, etc), can expect to pay $120/mo minimum once you add on taxes and fees to the low end package offered by any of the three cable providers.

Some people like the idea of getting one monthly bill and having all services come through one wire -- and only having to deal with one company.  To entice new users, the local cable providers frequently offer "bundles", (with low introductory rates and "free" months of premium services).  But beware! The companies' goal is to get you hooked on their services -- knowing once you start using email addresses from their company, and your family gets used to watching shows in the channel line-up they offer, they can go up on your rates and you'll find it hard to switch or cut back on services.

There are other options. You can mix and match services from various plans ordering just what you need and possibly save a little money. Many people are giving up residential phone service and using their cell phone as their primary phone.  Others use VOIP service, (like Vonage or MagicJack which works over your internet connection), although some people still don't need or want internet at all. Satellite t.v. is a an option for video programming if you don't want or can't get cable.

For the absolutely lowest cost t.v., phone and internet you could; 1). connect a digital converter box to a pair of rabbit ears and pay nothing to watch t.v., then; 2). order Verizon's "unlimited local" phone service, ($19.40/mo), and; 3). subscribe to a dial-up internet service, (like PeoplePC for $10/mo), total cost once you have a modem, digital converter for t.v. and a phone -- about $35/mo with taxes and fees.

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  1. If there’s an award for public service reporting, Randy should receive it, hands down! Thanks so much for this article. We’ve been dithering around (for months), trying to wade through the confusing and often conflicting information offered by the various cable providers both online and in speaking to their reps. This article is a huge help.

    Judith R.

    Comment by Judith Rosenbaum — May 15, 2010 @ 10:22 am

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