Tag Archives: Time Warner

5 Things You Need to Know About the Charter-Time Warner Cable Merger

The Time Warner and charter communications mega merger

Is the Time Warner and charter communications merger going to be good for consumers?

As of May 13, 2016, the Time Warner & Charter cable merger is about to be finalized. If you happen to live in an area where Time Warner is one of the only cable providers, such as myself, here are some things you’re going to want to know about going forward. Even though we personally don’t subscribe to Time Warner’s cable service, We are one of their Internet customers. This is only because we really only have two choices, which is either Time Warner cable, or Verizon DSL. We’ve tried the DSL route before and it’s horrible. Here’s a little research we’ve done to see what’s going to change when this merger finally ends up going through.

How big is Time Warner and Charter about to get?

This mega merger will total about 17 million cable subscribers and about 19 million Internet subscribers to Time Warner and Charter total. This puts them second behind Comcast which is currently the largest cable provider in the United States. If you recall, in 2014 Comcast tried to purchase Time Warner Cable but failed due to regulations. After all is said and done, Comcast and New Charter will own about 80 to 90% of the entire Internet broadband market in United States alone.

Do you think consumer service will suffer or thrive after Time Warner and Charter merge?

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The seven year rule

As part of this merger, Charter communications will not be able to charge video streaming companies extra money to improve the delivery of their video content. This includes streaming services such as Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon video streaming. This rule is in effect for seven years from the date of the merger. Charter will also not be able to come up with any policies that will inhibit these video providers from delivering content to their subscribers. Charter will also not be able to institute data caps on their Internet service.

A name is a name is a name

After the Time Warner and Charter cable merger goes through, Charter Communications will name itself “New Charter.” We can probably assume that the name Time Warner will probably just fade away.

Will there be any hidden costs?

As far as we can see, the rates for Cable services and Internet services from the New Charter company should not go up in the short term. In a merger of this size and scope, it would be beneficial for the New Charter to be on it’s absolute best behavior for the next couple of years as the dust settles. They are also committed to providing the best customer service, which is supposedly better than the customer service Time Warner currently offers. As far as price increases in the future, this is probably inevitable and will eventually be something that new charter will rollout. We’re still unsure about things like Internet modem fees, which can currently be avoided by buying your own equipment as we talked about here.

Filling in some Internet access holes

Under this new merger of Time Warner and Charter Communications, a number of low income households will now have access to high-speed Internet. Recent research states that seven out of 10 teachers assign homework that needs to have Internet access. One third of school-age children are unable to get online due to financial concerns. This should change with new plans being offered by this cable giant that will bring down rates for people who currently can’t afford the high rates.

What were also unsure of are the plans for fiber Internet service from this cable giant. In the past Charter has been very vocal about not providing higher speed fiber-optic networks to cities due to the cost and technical hurdles to bring the service to more homes such as Google fiber. As more high definition video content becomes available, consumers are going to be requesting more options to access this content, such as high speed fiber Internet.

It’s still too early to see what the final ramifications of the cable merger of this size will cause, but we will be keeping our eye on it as we are also Time Warner customers. Hopefully by combining these two companies, this will encourage competition between Comcast and New Charter and bring better service for all of those involved.

How to ditch Time Warner Home Phone & modem fees

Time Warner Cable ModemI was tipped off by a client recently on how to ditch Time Warner home phone service and the modem rental fee that they gouge you with every month. All told, this tip will basically get rid of not only $25 per month ($300 per year) on the Time Warner home phone service , but, also the useless $10 modem rental fee they charge you every month. How are we going to do this? For starters, you are going to replace the Time Warner phone service with Ooma phone service, and on top of that, you are going to purchase your own modem to replace the Time Warner issued modem. Ready to begin?

First, a few caveats. Doing this swapping of parts and service is not free–you will be required to purchase an Ooma telephone box (approximately $70-100)  outright and pay to have your home phone number ported from Time Warner to Ooma for about $40 (if you want to keep it–otherwise, you don’t have to shell out for this). You will also have to purchase a new cable modem outright, which will save you $120 a year from Time Warner. The price of a new cable modem can be anywhere from $50-100. At the end of this adventure, you will be paying Ooma roughly $4 per month for service (unless you go with Ooma pro service which is $9.99 per month) and taxes and no modem rental fee to worry about. That will bring your total from about $420 per year to about $48 bucks if you play your cards right.

Let’s talk about Ooma

Ooma Box

Ditch Time Warner home phone service for Ooma

Ooma is an internet-based phone service that hooks to your router and places all of your calls though the internet–which is exactly what Time Warner’s home phone service does. Ooma adds all of the bells and whistles that Time Warner does, including call forwarding, voicemail, junk call filtering (part of the pro service) and mobile apps to keep it all in check. I opted out of the Ooma pro services, since I don’t really need any of that stuff. I will miss the junk call filtering, but, for $10 per month, I can live without it. When the equipment came, it was very easy to setup and get it running in less than 10 minutes. I simply plugged the phone line from the back of the Time Warner modem into the back of the Ooma box. They provide an ethernet cord to plug into your router. After that, it was a trip to the Ooma website to setup my account and get the billing out of the way. I chose to port our home phone number from Time Warner to Ooma for a one-time fee of $39. As of this writing, the port is almost complete and it’s barely been a week since starting it.

The voice and call quality is basically on-par with the Time Warner phone service–no complaints so far. If you have a power outage, you are out of luck, since this works over the Internet and needs wall power. You may want to have a backup place (cell phone), just in case. You can check voicemail right on the cool-looking Ooma box, which resembles an old fashioned answering machine. The website is fresh and clean, and gets you what you need quickly, including call history, voicemail and account options. The best part is the cool, futuristic dial tone you hear when picking up a phone on the Ooma system. I chose to hook the Ooma to the wall outlets so all of our phones in the house work on the Ooma box–a bit tricky to setup, but, worth it. You can purchase an Ooma box and setup at this website.

Let’s talk about your new non-Time Warner home phone service modem.

Ditching the Time Warner Road Runner modem is also possible. I recently found a replacement ARRIS SURFboard SB6141 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem for about $70 bucks. This is a bare-bones modem that will get the job done. If I were you, I would check the Time Warner website to make sure you find a compatible modem for your region. I haven’t hooked up this new modem yet, until Ooma finishes porting my number. So, in order, you would want to setup Ooma first, then, cancel Time Warner home phone service when your port is complete. Then, you can go ahead and setup the new modem. Do your own research and find the right modem for you, even if you have to contact Time Warner.