‘Six People Cut the Cord Every Minute’

According to Bloomberg, Americans are canceling their pay-TV subscriptions at the rate of six people per minute. The global news and financial data provider says that the reasons consumers are abandoning cable subscriptions are not a mystery, seeing as they’re ‘expensive’ and there are cheaper alternatives everywhere.

Bloomberg believes that the answers for this situation can be found in a number of key areas, namely the licensing of reruns to Netflix, the shelling out of billions for sports rights, slimmer pay-TV bundles, and ‘failing to promote a Netflix killer called TV Everywhere.’

TV bundles which were launched in the 1990s and were to be found in all homes in 2000, have fallen from 100 million subscribers in the past five years, to 95 million. This past quarter alone, Comcast, Charter, Dish and AT&T saw a dip in subscriptions to the tune of 744,000. This decline is the cause of a number of blockbuster mergers reshaping the media landscape, such as AT&T buying Time Warner, Walt Disney acquiring much of Fox, and Comcast pursuing Sky. Entertainment companies are watching their businesses decline and are deciding they just need to get bigger, expand globally, and compete with massive rivals like Netflix, or get out of the game altogether.

Bloomberg also asserts that the TV industry ‘isn’t suffering financially’ because it is constantly raising prices on its remaining customer base. The average pay-TV customer typically spends $106.20 a month, an increase of 44% over 2011 (Leichtman Research Group). Both satellite and phone companies have generated $1.8 trillion in revenue from selling TV services since 1980. Meanwhile, revenues last year topped $116 billion.

Many experts believe that the cable bundle is not sustainable and that there will be a ‘reckoning’. “You’ve got high prices, big bundles, and broadband,” says Warren Schlichting, group president of Sling TV, which has more than 2 million people paying for an online service that starts at $25 and offers about 30 channels. “At some stage, the consumer is going to revolt.”

Published by

Martin Dew

editor

74 Comments

  1. Back of the envelope calculations and highly jaundiced counterpoint:

    I’ve been constantly/nonstop hearing of this massive cord cutting that has been going on roughly starting in the early 2000’s or so. Supposedly in the last 5 years a MASSIVE exodus of customers have been fleeing in droves leaving the CableCo with virtually the number of customers that frequent an Open Blockbuster Video. Again, even the CordCutter numbers seem to leave me a bit baffled where the massive exodus is

    2007 97M customers
    2011 100M at $73/month — approx $87B annual revenue
    2018 94M at $106/month — approx $119B annual revenue about a 5% increase annually

    Now what I don’t know is whether that revenue is specifically PayTV only or whether that includes all bundling (internet, phone, etc).
    If the Internet slice is separate and since I suspect a lot of those cord cutters may well be paying the same PayTV company the same amount of money monthly anyway for Broadband access (which the PayTV companies don’t have to share a penny with TV Rights holders, Local TV stations, etc). I’m not really shedding many tears.

    Many of my “pretend that they’re CordCutting friends b/c it’s really cool to say it loudly in public” are all too fond of bragging that they’ve cut that cord 5-10 years ago when in reality they’re just planning on it (for the 8th straight year and counting). I asked a bunch of the actual cord cutters one time to show me their monthly budget numbers — TV + Phone + Broadband + Netflix/Hulu/Filmstruck/etc streaming services they were paying each month. Interestingly I found most of the cord cutters were paying about 20% more per month total than they were before once everything was included and even a little more once all their extra streaming boxes and devices were prorated into the cost.

    The amt of money they were still paying to DirecTv/Charter/TWC/ATT/Comcast, etc was overall higher that 5 years ago plus they paying extra each month often for multiple streaming services. Overall this was mostly an older crowd, but while the younger people in the group were more likely to actually be PAYTV free, but they were also far more likely to have 300-1000 MB Internet speeds and several streaming services. I won’t even get into the obscene CellPhone charges I saw from many of them with up to 4-10 personal Smartphones/family

    The reckoning may be happening glacially for a couple small subgroups, but overall the companies PayTV companies don’t seem to be going out of business and their total revenue and profits aren’t really falling. They are changing and adapting, but I don’t see Kmart/Sears/Blockbuster style issues in their future.

  2. Mysto

    We can't the cord as long as the cable company owns the internet connection. Lose revenue on cable – raise it on internet. It's a myth.

    Yes, that's true. BUT….my cable/internet/lowest tier channels (HGTV, CNN, Food Network, etc.) was costing me $160 three years ago. Most of the channels I never watched. I already had Netflix and Prime. Now I've added Hulu and my cost per month is just under $100 internet and those three channels. And I watch more of what I have.

  3. Spectrum cable is the only option besides DirecTV or Dish in my area. In fact some areas you can't even put a satellite dish in your yard or on your house due to neighborhood ordinances. Some want all homes around them to have clean yards without any clutter or items like that at all.

    The "Cord-Cutting" is just what's in for today's trend, especially millennials. You never actually cut any cord, you simply remove a service, as you still must at least have an internet connection of some kind for the bandwidth. While it's true some areas have WISP service, you still have to deal with latency issues vs hard wired cable type connections from either the phone or cable company if you want great streaming.

    Spectrum and many others charge more for just internet service, but the price goes down as you add cable TV and/or phone to the bundle. Then you have to factor in that many streaming services don't offer local channels for most people unless in a major metro city at this time. Many local stations have exclusive agreements with cable providers and satellite, but that does not extend to their internet streaming content. Yes, you can get a good indoor HD local TV antenna, but then you must either sit it on a stand or mount to a wall. Another ugly device if you want a clean flatpanel wall mounted look. Assuming that was OK, you still have to make sure it's in a good area for reception, trust me I know. If you want locals in other rooms, that means more ugly antennas and chances are you won't get good reception or any in some of those places.

    Next is local weather on TWC, local channels or cable channels like Spectrum News/Weather. Some may not care but for those that travel for work, needing to know weather for departure and arrival or especially farmers, it's a very big deal.

    By the time I would buy my internet and steaming service, add antennas, etc. I was actually paying $25/month more than what I could get a bundle for even when the 12/mo promo price expired.

  4. "To put the scale of the potential threat of cord-cutting in perspective: for more than a year now, Netflix has had more subscribers in the United States than cable television, and the speed of changeover is only increasing. According to eMarketer, an estimated 22.2 million people switched from cable subscriptions to streaming content in 2017, a 33.2 percent growth over the previous year."

    I think this is the issue — there is no way this paragraph and the OP can possibly be reconciled with some real fuzzy math and/or incredibly poor mis-use of statistics. If Cable/Sat were losing 20M per year, then there would be something to worry about with a starting base of 100M, but I'm going to say this article is incredibly wrong. I think I'm going to trust Bloomberg a bit more on this issue since it seems to fit the actual households I know.

    What could they have possibly meant?
    22.2M people switching, but neglected that 21M switched from streaming to Cable?
    22.2M people added streaming and most kept their Cable too? Sounds more like it though it doesn't seem to indicate Gross/Net movement.
    22.2M people added streaming, but 21M of them just switched from one streaming service to another rolling those Free Month offers over and over so they never have to pay for any service.

  5. David Norman

    "To put the scale of the potential threat of cord-cutting in perspective: for more than a year now, Netflix has had more subscribers in the United States than cable television, and the speed of changeover is only increasing. According to eMarketer, an estimated 22.2 million people switched from cable subscriptions to streaming content in 2017, a 33.2 percent growth over the previous year."

    I think this is the issue — there is no way this paragraph and the OP can possibly be reconciled with some real fuzzy math and/or incredibly poor mis-use of statistics. If Cable/Sat were losing 20M per year, then there would be something to worry about with a starting base of 100M, but I'm going to say this article is incredibly wrong. I think I'm going to trust Bloomberg a bit more on this issue since it seems to fit the actual households I know.

    What could they have possibly meant?
    22.2M people switching, but neglected that 21M switched from streaming to Cable?
    22.2M people added streaming and most kept their Cable too? Sounds more like it though it doesn't seem to indicate Gross/Net movement.
    22.2M people added streaming, but 21M of them just switched from one streaming service to another rolling those Free Month offers over and over so they never have to pay for any service.

    I suspect it’s a typo in the Verge article (2.2MM instead of 22.2MM)

  6. And for the record. We “cut the cord” in my house, which simple meant dropping the DirecTV service, and adding Hulu instead. We were already paying for internet and Netflix, so the net savings in my household is about $100 a month. We lost some channels that we watched and aren’t available on streaming services without cable, but for us the financial benefit outweighed the loss of those few channels.

  7. I'm not saying at all there aren't some people who legitimately have cut the cord, but the hordes of people running for the exits seems to be
    far exagerrated over the actually real numbers. I have seen those 10-20M+ numbers in other articles however, but the context almost always seems to be missing.

    If the CableCo add $20 to a monthly Internet Only fee for unbundled invloce compared with the bundled price of TV+Internet at a higher monthly charge, but having to pay subscriber fees to a dozens of networks, they may actually have lower Gross Revenue but significantly higher Net Revenue in the end. In the end they may be perfectly happy to off-load the TV part of the business until a real Internet broadband competetion shows up.

  8. David Norman

    I'm not saying at all there aren't some people who legitimately have cut the cord, but the hordes of people running for the exits seems to be
    far exagerrated over the actually real numbers. I have seen those 10-20M+ numbers in other articles however, but the context almost always seems to be missing.

    If the CableCo add $20 to a monthly Internet Only fee for unbundled invloce compared with the bundled price of TV+Internet at a higher monthly charge, but having to pay subscriber fees to a dozens of networks, they may actually have lower Gross Revenue but significantly higher Net Revenue in the end. In the end they may be perfectly happy to off-load the TV part of the business until a real Internet broadband competetion shows up.

    I’ve seen the number “33MM” used in several articles discussing the number to which the cord cutting amount will grow to, which I always take to mean the total aggregate number of households that no longer pay for cable/satellite (since the start of the overall decline, I assume). The projections for cord cutters in 2018 was projected to be 5.3MM (or a number close to that) which would represent quite the acceleration of it turns out that way.

  9. I have thought about cutting the cord in years past, and the thing that kept me from doing so was the way that cable and internet services were priced. For the longest time, it seemed that if I just canceled the cable portion, they would then jack up the cost of internet access on its own to nearly what I was paying for both. And my rationale was, if I’m basically gonna be charged for both, why bother canceling?

    But I’m almost ready to reconsider. In the past few years, the number of new shows I watch has dwindled into near non-existence. I worry that it’ll “feel weird” to not be able to turn on my TV and receive a live signal from the world, but I think that’s basically a straw man at this point. And in terms of missing out on actual programming, I don’t think I will thanks to services like Hulu. We already have Hulu and the technical quality often exceeds that of the cable box anyway. I like the idea of being able to come home from work and channel surf to relax, but I realize that in practice, I never actually do that. My viewing is all on a “What do I feel like watching?” basis and not a “Let’s see what’s on and pick from that” basis and hasn’t been in well over a decade.

    And in terms of not being able to watch new shows…so what? Last year, one network debuted a new show that I enjoyed more than anything I’ve seen on TV in years. The network was Fox, the show was “The Orville,” and it was only a twelve episode season, followed by a two year hiatus. It’s probably not worth paying whatever I’m paying just to be able to watch a dozen episodes of a show I like on the night that it airs every other year.

    I’m just realizing that my reasons for keeping cable are far more emotional than practical. Having cable ended up being the benchmark that I used to measure my success. “I can afford cable” meant that I was succeeding at adulting. I need to let go of that idea. And besides, I can afford cable…I’d just be choosing not to spend my money on it, which would be different than not having a choice in the matter.

  10. Neil Middlemiss

    The projections for cord cutters in 2018 was projected to be 5.3MM (or a number close to that) which would represent quite the acceleration of it turns out that way.

    So 5+M net will completlely cut the cord in 2018 despite the Bloomberg Chart suggesting that only 6M Net subscribers have left since 2010-2011 and steadily 1M per year over the last 4 year. Color me still skeptical. There are just too many people like Josh mentions who are set in their habits — possibly older generation and folks like my wife who might kill me if I even suggested the thought.

  11. …and there are saps like me who have just about everything (Spectrum cable, internet, landline, most of their movie packages AND a few subscription streaming services), love it, and won't give any of it up! HA! 🙂

  12. For those thinking about cutting that cord, just do it!

    It is not “more”. We cut cable tv years 3 ago & saved a small fortune. Yes, Internet service may be slightly higher than it would be bundled with tv service. But it is still much less. Less taxes, and less fees as well.

    If you find you miss cable tv service so much, guess what…you can resubscribe any time. I’m sure the cable company will be thrilled to have a returning customer.

    I feel the quality of programming on OTT subscriptions is of higher quality than the live, commercial-saturated junk of cable networks. I will never go back.

    Please don’t fall into believing that cutting the cord will cost more. It won’t unless you are trying to prove it will cost more by over subscribing to more services than you can possibly watch at any one time. It’s like buying that gigantic amount of food at Costco just to only use 1/4 of it before it goes bad & then throwing the rest out.

  13. Things may have changed since I last spoke to the cable company about it – it was probably ten years ago that I last looked into it. I don’t remember what the exact figures were but they were going to double my internet bill if I removed cable, so I didn’t. I have no idea what the SOP is these days.

  14. It will save some money for some people, it won't save any money for others, and for others it will be an increase.

    It all depends on where you live and what options you have, what you watch/what you're willing to give up — if everything viewable is crap then it's irrelevant anyway. If you like 10 different News Channels, multiple sports offerings, in addition to scripted TV shows not available OTA then you either learn to live without them or you pay for what you want to watch.

    With my current service if I dropped PayTV completely and kept just the Internet/Phone at current levels my bill would drop about $40 or max 50 per month. Add Netflix/Hulu/Sling or any of the multitude of streaming services to gain access to what I want to watch and it's a $10-20 max saving assuming the Internet speed could handle it which I'm not at all convinced. If I have to bump to the higher speed internet then I'm in the hole already.

    My area has choices of Spectrum broadband 60-300 level service and I'm at 60 now, ATT U-verse maxes at 25 on a good day and nobody is happy with them since even that level is closer to 4-6 most days. Everything else is less 2 download speeds so no way that works so it's not even like I could cycle introductory offers every 1-2 years.

    I could drop VOIP phone service as well and save $20-30 per month, but my current Security System would then have to be put on Mobile Call in at an extra $10-15 per month plus I'd probably need to go back to regular Cell Service and drop the $5/month Tracfone's I use

  15. I think, and I could be wrong, that we currently pay about $200 a month for cable and internet bundled together. We do not have any premium channels and do not watch live sports. It’s mystifying to me why it’s so high. All I want is a DVR box, access to the free broadcast networks, and basic cable channels like BBC America, Paramount Network (formerly Spike), AMC, TCM and Comedy Central. You’d think that you could get that done for $100.

  16. Josh Steinberg

    I think it may be so high because BBC America doesn’t come in most basic package.

    If you have a pretty specific group of channels you need then something like SlingTV might work for you depending on the cost of your Internet service alone — my phone/internet/TV is substantially lower than yours already even with zero current promotions. If you could do your current Internet for $60-80 per month then I'm sure you could come up with a huge savings chunk.

    Of course if you call and start talking with the CableCo about your options of Internet only service they might cut you a huge deal anyway for 6 or 12 months. Even better, if you have access to other good local internet providers then you could probably come up with a deal to cut your cost in half if you rotate providers or even seriously threaten to move.

  17. Jeffery_H

    In fact some areas you can't even put a satellite dish in your yard or on your house due to neighborhood ordinances. Some want all homes around them to have clean yards without any clutter or items like that at all.

    While personally not a fan I thought the satellite companies challenged this years ago and it became illegal to prevent dish installations, even in apartments.

    Jeffery_H

    Yes, you can get a good indoor HD local TV antenna, but then you must either sit it on a stand or mount to a wall. Another ugly device if you want a clean flatpanel wall mounted look. Assuming that was OK, you still have to make sure it's in a good area for reception, trust me I know. If you want locals in other rooms, that means more ugly antennas and chances are you won't get good reception or any in some of those places.

    I have six TV's and a feed to my HTPC. They are all fed by an external OTA antenna I installed on my rear deck and distributed through the very same cables Comcast or the like would use for their services. It takes a good deal of initial work to get this up and running but I get over 60 channels [of varying interest and uniqueness] absolutely free. I would say there are at least 15 distinct and interesting channels and [since they are uncompressed] the quality is better than anything Dish or Direct can offer.

    Jeffery_H

    By the time I would buy my internet and steaming service, add antennas, etc. I was actually paying $25/month more than what I could get a bundle for even when the 12/mo promo price expired.

    You're right of course. For the vast majority this is the rub. My company pays for my Internet so [for now anyway] I escape this trap. Even when that is not the case though, I'll pay more for Internet to avoid the bundling scam.

    I recently assisted the parents of one of my wife's friends in "divorcing" AT&T. They went from almost $200.00/month for a bloated bundle to about $60.00/month for basic Internet. I set them up with Basic Talk VOIP phone service [approx $12.00/month] and spent about $50.00 for a few indoor antennas since they weren't overly concerned with aesthetics and I wanted to keep it simple.

    Again, I think you're generally correct. To truly "cut the cord" requires diligence, work, commitment and possibly sacrifice but it can be done. For most, the same or less effort could be used to stay on top of Comcast, AT&T and their sneaky price increases. As always, convenience will never be cheap.

  18. As far as I know, I only have this one option.

    Regarding threatening to cancel, we’ve done that before, and they’ve then given us promotional rates for a few months which then expire. Last time we complained about the bill, they didn’t budge. And honestly, I don’t want to be on a merry-go-round of discounted and constantly changing pricing. I think that’s what gets me most. I just want to agree on one price and stick with it. I don’t want to have to stay on top of it at all times.

    Actually, my provider (Spectrum, formerly Time Warner Cable) has just been ordered to stop doing business in my state due to them not following through on the agreements they made in order to be allowed to buy Time Warner. So we’ll see what happens there.

  19. Josh Steinberg

    I think, and I could be wrong, that we currently pay about $200 a month for cable and internet bundled together. We do not have any premium channels and do not watch live sports. It’s mystifying to me why it’s so high. All I want is a DVR box, access to the free broadcast networks, and basic cable channels like BBC America, Paramount Network (formerly Spike), AMC, TCM and Comedy Central. You’d think that you could get that done for $100.

    It can…

    1. Use a HTPC. Free DVR service with most client software. Yes there is an initial investment of time and money but it will easily pay for itself over the course of a year or so.
    2. Drop the bundle and get one of the current "skinny packages" such as You Tube TV or Sling.
    3. I believe you already have Netflix. 🙂
  20. Bob Cashill

    …and there are saps like me who have just about everything (Spectrum cable, internet, landline, most of their movie packages AND a few subscription streaming services), love it, and won't give any of it up! HA! 🙂

    LOL – You're not a "sap" as long as you understand your options and can afford the choices you ultimately make.

  21. Bob Cashill

    …and there are saps like me who have just about everything (Spectrum cable, internet, landline, most of their movie packages AND a few subscription streaming services), love it, and won't give any of it up! HA! 🙂

    LOL – You're not a "sap" as long as you understand your options and can afford the choices you ultimately make.

  22. John, It’s frustrating because I watch so little, but what I watch I don’t want to give up. (And my wife has her own set of non-negotiables that are different from mine.) Hulu Live and YouTube Live are $40 each per month and have the best options for what I’d like, but each is missing something vital that the other has. But if I spent $80 on both services, that’s not really saving anything from where I am now. Sling TV doesn’t offer most of what I’d like to have.

    Setting up a HTPC is not an option for me at this time. Nor is setting up an antenna.

    I really do think that cable is my best option at this time, but it’s still too expensive for what I want to watch.

    Above all, I don’t want this to be a hassle, and it looks like all options are a hassle. Dealing with the cable company and trying to control their pricing is a hassle. Trying to figure which blend of services could replace them is hassle. Having to keep track of multiple streaming services is a hassle.

    I can understand why many people my age and younger just find everything they want via illegal torrent downloading. I average only about one program per channel on the channels I do watch. If I watched more programs but on fewer channels, this would be easier. If I didn’t mind dropping some programs, this would be easier. And with the average length of seasons shortening, while the gap between seasons growing, it’s tough to make any choices because it feels like my stuff is on hiatus more often than not.

    I’m sure it’s not easy for exactly these reasons, so that I feel compelled to stick with the status quo.

  23. Josh Steinberg

    Setting up a HTPC is not an option for me at this time. Nor is setting up an antenna.

    The HTPC is a commitment so I understand that but (if you don't mind me asking) what is your reservation with an OTA antenna?

    Josh Steinberg

    I’m sure it’s not easy for exactly these reasons, so that I feel compelled to stick with the status quo.

    I think this is what it all boils down to. I can easily "afford" cable but I have a problem with gross injustice so I simply refuse to buy it, even if it means sacrificing certain channels. Don't get me wrong, I understand and respect your choices but the Cable, Telco and Sat companies do their research and know the market will [collectively] accept their larceny which is why it continues.

  24. Can’t do OTA because I live in an apartment building and do not have the ability to install one on the roof and then run cabling down to my first floor apartment.

    I’m not sure whether my TV has a digital tuner so that may be an extra cost.

    And since I’m rarely home to watch TV live, then I’d need to come up with a DVR solution as well.

    And for all I know, the reception here might be terrible. Cell service is awful in my building, and good wi-fi doesn’t even make it through the walls here. I’m skeptical that I’d get a decent signal but I could be totally wrong there.

    If I’m ever a homeowner, I’d be happy to investigate those options, but I don’t think they’re practical at this moment for me.

  25. I'm going in this week to return the three cable boxes and get rid of cable. I already confirmed with the in store rep there are no early termination fees and I can do it. I can and my bill drops by about $40.

    Quite simply, I don't watch TV. I stream, I pop a movie or TV show into the 4k player. I got the cable for the ex when he moved in and now that he's gone, there's no point in it.

    I will use that savings on CBS All Access later in the year and the Disney streaming channel when that comes out, though.

  26. Youtube is an amazing source of information and videos on things you never knew you wanted to know about. And the best part is it's free. I can literally spend hours a night on YouTube and never get bored.

  27. Me too. We call it “falling down the rabbit hole” here!

    I think my big hang up is probably psychological. Having cable makes me feel connected to the world, knowing that I could turn the TV and just see what’s happening out there. I just don’t feel the same about internet or streaming, but I recognize that I’m not necessarily making a sensical argument.

  28. Josh Steinberg

    Can’t do OTA because I live in an apartment building and do not have the ability to install one on the roof and then run cabling down to my first floor apartment.

    I’m not sure whether my TV has a digital tuner so that may be an extra cost.

    And since I’m rarely home to watch TV live, then I’d need to come up with a DVR solution as well.

    And for all I know, the reception here might be terrible. Cell service is awful in my building, and good wi-fi doesn’t even make it through the walls here. I’m skeptical that I’d get a decent signal but I could be totally wrong there.

    If I’m ever a homeowner, I’d be happy to investigate those options, but I don’t think they’re practical at this moment for me.

    Understood, however…

    Indoor antennas are cheap. If the reception sucks, simply return it. Similarly, once you connect the antenna, run a channel scan. If [unlikely – unless it was purchased before 2009] your TV lacks an ATSC tuner you'll know immediately.

    DVR service can be added quite cheaply these days. Here is just one option.

    https://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod…V0Y-zCh1xQwywEAQYAyABEgKAL_D_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

    But I do get where you're coming from. If it ain't broke…

  29. Josh Steinberg

    John, It’s frustrating because I watch so little, but what I watch I don’t want to give up. (And my wife has her own set of non-negotiables that are different from mine.) Hulu Live and YouTube Live are $40 each per month and have the best options for what I’d like, but each is missing something vital that the other has. But if I spent $80 on both services, that’s not really saving anything from where I am now. Sling TV doesn’t offer most of what I’d like to have.

    Setting up a HTPC is not an option for me at this time. Nor is setting up an antenna.

    .

    Single choice Internet reduces the threat to quit especially now. I really didn't mind calling once a year to renegotiate the deal, but once Spectrum took over TWC that seemed to kill any lee-way — if U-verse was a real competitor locally I could almost certainly keep my bill close to $100. I will be extremely interested in seeing what NY does with that lawsuit since it's very likely to filter down to some of the rest of us.

    The big thing is to get your list of non-negotiable stations as your starting point and seeing what works. Some of DirecTV Now and Sling bundles come really close to my needs, but like you nothing less than $80-90 per month hits the minimum level.

    I've had an OTA setup for decades (antenna in the attic) which would work for the locals

    I had both DirecTV (often with Premier and Sports packages) and TWC cable (mostly for the rest of the house and Wife simplicity needs) for nearly 20years until I retired early. At that point then DirecTV had to be sacrificed as well as backing the Internet back to 60 from 200/300 after the College age kids moved on. Currently on Spectrum with a grandfathered TWC triple play bundle with multiple lifetime TIVOs. I looked at unbundling things and there's just really no way in my situation to get cheaper even with Frankensteining 5 different things together.

    MLB and College Football addiction really limits where you can go. MLB.TV is a distant poor cousin to DirecTV MLB Package when I could instantly switch between 6 games at no loss in quality — I'm trying it again on the half season cheap plan and it works better on my ROKU, but it's still a poor 2nd cousin to DTV Extra Innings. SEC Channel. Fox Sports, CBS Sports Channel, ESPN/2/U are mandatory during College Football season. I had Big10 and Pac12 for several years on DirecTV and really miss Big10, but nearly impossible to get in NC in any quality.

    The anti Sat Dish/Antenna issue is a non-starter argument for 99% people. Legally no HOA or Local ordinance could stop you UNLESS you are in an historic district (or condo where the outside of the condo is not yours). If a HOA wanted to try to ban/fine you, they're just flat out going to lose and spend a lot of money losing. Line of Sight issues and personal decision is just about the only limiting factor. Rain Fade/Weather disruption for a properly tweaked dish is 100:1 better for DirecTV than any CableTV system even in the southeast thunderstorm zone.

  30. Josh Steinberg

    John, It’s frustrating because I watch so little, but what I watch I don’t want to give up. (And my wife has her own set of non-negotiables that are different from mine.)

    I’m sure it’s not easy for exactly these reasons, so that I feel compelled to stick with the status quo.

    Similar sentiments here, though with very different reasons.

    The people I live with have non-negotiables which are channels from the old country, available on some cable systems. Mostly channels in german and hebrew (or yiddish).

    Without these german/hebrew/yiddish channels, most likely they would just sit around all day doing nothing or sleeping in bed all day.

  31. It’s funny, my wife watches more on cable than I do by a lot, but she seems more in favor of getting rid of it. But she’s also the kind of person (and I say this as a compliment) that can find something on anything. So, when I subscribed to Showtime just for Twin Peaks: The Return, she watched original Showtime programming, but never complained when I dropped it.

    Cable could very easily keep me for life if they’d just scale back slightly on the greed. I am willing to pay a little more than necessary for convenience and for not having to figure out multiple products and services, but I think it’s ballooned out of control lately, and with no end in sight.

    The irony gods have to be amused that the person who watches the least amount of cable in the house is the one most obsessed with keeping cable.

  32. Josh Steinberg

    Cable could very easily keep me for life if they’d just scale back slightly on the greed. I am willing to pay a little more than necessary for convenience and for not having to figure out multiple products and services, but I think it’s ballooned out of control lately, and with no end in sight.

    Probably the best overall summation I've heard.

  33. John Dirk

    While personally not a fan I thought the satellite companies challenged this years ago and it became illegal to prevent dish installations, even in apartments.

    Not correct at all as I looked into this. Apartments are not your personal property, therefore they can dictate any rules they want and most of the more upscale ones I have seen won't allow any modifications. You are given a "residents handbook" and it lists the cable company you must use, times at night when you can't have loud music/tv, etc. But that's going a bit down a rabbit hole not on topic. Just think of Frasier and you get the picture. Next, you basically have close to the same rules for certain neighborhoods/communities. The better ones can not only state by law what you can have and not have, but the type of building material, color schemes, brick, stone, etc. you home can be. It's all legal I assure you and people pay a LOT of money for these areas.

    I have six TV's and a feed to my HTPC. They are all fed by an external OTA antenna I installed on my rear deck and distributed through the very same cables Comcast or the like would use for their services. It takes a good deal of initial work to get this up and running but I get over 60 channels [of varying interest and uniqueness] absolutely free. I would say there are at least 15 distinct and interesting channels and [since they are uncompressed] the quality is better than anything Dish or Direct can offer.

    All I can get is about 20 OTA channels where I live no matter what is done. Sure, you can setup a way to do it like this but it's just another headache to deal with, cost of having the HTPC on and running, etc. Not just a simply always on solution. People want convenience and not all this completed setup stuff to mess with for the most part.

    You're right of course. For the vast majority this is the rub. My company pays for my Internet so [for now anyway] I escape this trap. Even when that is not the case though, I'll pay more for Internet to avoid the bundling scam.

    I recently assisted the parents of one of my wife's friends in "divorcing" AT&T. They went from almost $200.00/month for a bloated bundle to about $60.00/month for basic Internet. I set them up with Basic Talk VOIP phone service [approx $12.00/month] and spent about $50.00 for a few indoor antennas since they weren't overly concerned with aesthetics and I wanted to keep it simple.

    At least with Spectrum, you have no contract and can cancel anytime.

    Again, I think you're generally correct. To truly "cut the cord" requires diligence, work, commitment and possibly sacrifice but it can be done. For most, the same or less effort could be used to stay on top of Comcast, AT&T and their sneaky price increases. As always, convenience will never be cheap.

    Also, another important factor others overlook is many people have family that either live with them or visit and did not grow up in the computer age of things. If you have relatives in their 70s and up, they just want a remote with on/off, volume up/down, channel up/down and that's it. I have tried several times explaining how they can use my Netflix and such but they don't catch on because they did not grow up with any of this. This is why streaming TV just won't work and never will for some people and families.

  34. David Norman

    The anti Sat Dish/Antenna issue is a non-starter argument for 99% Homeowners. Legally no HOA or Local ordinance could stop you UNLESS you are in an historic district (or condo/apartment where the outside is not yours). For a Private Residence if a HOA wanted to try to ban/fine you, they're just flat out going to lose and spend a lot of money losing. Line of Sight issues and personal decision is just about the only limiting factor. Rain Fade/Weather disruption for a properly tweaked dish is 100:1 better for DirecTV than any CableTV system even in the southeast thunderstorm zone.

    Partially true, but legally not correct. You CAN be blocked from installing anything a neighborhood/community chooses if that is part of that areas code. For example, if you build a house it must look a certain way or be a certain style to match the community, be a minimum cost to build, be only a certain exterior theme/color, etc. It may also dictate what you may or may not put in your yard, on your roof, etc. Some are likely referred to "gated communities". You know full well before you buy a house there or build what the codes are, rules that are expected to be followed, etc. People pay a LOT of money to live in places like this so yes, there are places where those terms do not apply. Just wanted to clear that up because it's not a given.

  35. I increasingly subscribe to all the things. Cable subscription. TiVo (lifetime contract) Netflix. Amazon. It would be cheaper to go all streaming. But there are a number of shows we watch that are cable-first, streaming second, including:

    The Americans
    Better Call Saul
    The 100
    Colony
    The Expanse
    Legion

    There are some slighter entertainment that are cable-only:
    The Daily Show
    So You Think You Can Dance
    Face Off

    Given the rate at which I’m really watching shows, I could go streaming for much of my scripted drama: by the time I get to The 100 or The Expanse on my TiVo, it’s also available to watch on a streaming service.

    But I’m burying the lede. The real reason I can’t quit cable is my wife watches Survivor and Amazing Race. 🙂

  36. Jeffery_H

    Partially true, but legally not correct. You CAN be blocked from installing anything a neighborhood/community chooses if that is part of that areas code. For example, if you build a house it must look a certain way or be a certain style to match the community, be a minimum cost to build, be only a certain exterior theme/color, etc. It may also dictate what you may or may not put in your yard, on your roof, etc. Some are likely referred to "gated communities". You know full well before you buy a house there or build what the codes are, rules that are expected to be followed, etc. People pay a LOT of money to live in places like this so yes, there are places where those terms do not apply. Just wanted to clear that up because it's not a given.

    Has there been a change in the 1996 law? If you are a lawyer I certainly defer and apologize, but I still hang out in enough satellite forums that I've yet to find one of those restrictions that have been deemed legally binding when read by Section 207 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Federal Communications Commission adopted the Over-the-Air Reception Devices (“OTARD”). As far as I'm aware OTARD is still undefeated for those that have fought the Sheriff as far as Dishes less than a Meter in diameter and most receive only OTA antennas. I just did a quick Google Search and could not find anything quickly. If you have a link or article I'd love to read it, but so far I've come up empty on any successful challenges

    A lot of HOA and Restricted communities have tried to and like to claim that right, but I don;t think those can be enforced if someone wants to challenge it. Those papers if it violates Fed Law then they are pretty worthless (or worse) regardless of whether you sign the paper or not. There are things things they can regulate — reasonable placement, landscaping, safety, etc but I haven't read of any absolute restrictions that have stood up in court. Condo, townhomes, apartments when have common use areas and are technically not private property are different.

  37. DaveF

    Are they? And live? I’ve ignored CBS so far since they’re only stereo. This would be an interesting revelation.

    I’ve never live streamed, but according to their site, you can:

    “If you're unable to watch Survivor live at 8/7c on Wednesdays on CBS, all you need to watch is CBS All Access! With CBS All Access, you can stream the episode in real time or as soon as the newest episode becomes available to subscribers.

  38. David Norman

    College Football addiction really limits where you can go. SEC Channel. Fox Sports, CBS Sports Channel, ESPN/2/U are mandatory during College Football season. I had Big10 and Pac12 for several years on DirecTV and really miss Big10, but nearly impossible to get in NC in any quality.

    And there's my main stumbling block with cord cutting. Now, if I can get access to live streams of the main ESPN channels without the significant delay, then I would probably be all over it. But I just can't switch knowing that the streams are at least a full minute behind the actual action.

  39. I "cut the cord" over 15 years ago and eventually bought two (dedicated UHF and VHF) long range digital antennas, added a bullet amp to them and redirected the existing cable wiring to distribute the OTA signal throughout the house. I'm in kind of a fringe area and I wanted the most solid signal I could get, so I got the highest gain antennas I could find. I spent about $250 on the whole setup, and using the existing cable, it really didn't take much work. I calculate I've saved at least $15,000 on that decision. I remember actually having palpitations when I saw the Cable company truck disconnecting me, but I quickly learned my life is much better without all that crap distracting me. Reception could be iffy for some channels at first, but now I get about 60, though I'm really only interested in maybe six.

    The amount of money people spend on pointless and mostly useless things is amazing. I also don't have a smart phone, and hope I never will. When someone criticizes me for the money I spend on HT, I point out these things and spell out that in the last 15 years, that's most likely as much as $30,000 I haven't spent on that stuff that they have, so even with the maybe $10,000 I've spent on HT in that time, I'm still way ahead. They are usually shocked when I add up the numbers for them. It shuts them up really fast.

    John Dirk

    I have six TV's and a feed to my HTPC. They are all fed by an external OTA antenna I installed on my rear deck and distributed through the very same cables Comcast or the like would use for their services. It takes a good deal of initial work to get this up and running but I get over 60 channels [of varying interest and uniqueness] absolutely free. I would say there are at least 15 distinct and interesting channels and [since they are uncompressed] the quality is better than anything Dish or Direct can offer.

    Once again, we've done similar things. One thing you pointed out is the image quality. It absolutely blows away my parent's expensive cable package.

    Josh Steinberg

    Hulu Live and YouTube Live are $40 each per month and have the best options for what I’d like, but each is missing something vital that the other has.

    None of it is vital, really.

  40. Chip_HT

    And there's my main stumbling block with cord cutting. Now, if I can get access to live streams of the main ESPN channels without the significant delay, then I would probably be all over it. But I just can't switch knowing that the streams are at least a full minute behind the actual action.

    I could learn to live with the delay in teh game itself, but if you're watching 2-3-4 games it's nearly impossible to switch quickly from one to another and so far I haven't found anything streaming quality that's even tolerable. Some of the ESPN3 streams I've tried makes my local High School football TV look pretty good. With 3 TVs I can reasonably follow 3 games pretty closely, but running 3 screens with simultaneous streams I end up with a mess and constant locked/frozen screens and can take several minutes to get back to useful.

    Is any of it vital? No. But neither are Pasta and Chocolate, BUT for me without College Football and MLB games why bother and you might as well put me on a diet of Gruel and Water or better just use me as a a Novichuk Antidote tester?

  41. I eliminated the cable TV portion of my service, for a second time, for three reasons:

    1) I found that I didn't like much of what is being produced for North American TV. I find most of the shows to be nihilistic with characters that I couldn't care less about. I just don't find any of the shows fun to watch.
    2) the cost of the cable package kept going up whether there was any justification or not. When I learned mine was going up another five bucks a month for no discernible reason, I called to cancel it. The service rep's argument for me keeping the service: "well, it goes up 5 dollars every year". I'm like, "dude,if you think that is an argument for me staying then you have lost all reason".

    Cable and home phone is still too expensive thanks to the Canadian government supporting a non-competitive oligarchy: however, even with a subscription to Crunchyroll and Netflix, my overall costs are still lower than having a cable package.

    The only downside of having a Netflix account is that a person will find something on there that they like; however, generally, most of the series are things they have licensed from others, so the shows over and done with by the time Netflix gets a hold of them. For example, I quite liked "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Service" but by the time the show made it to Netflix, it had been canceled by (I believe) BBC America, the originating network. Of course, nothing guarantees the show would have survived even if I had had a subscription to the BBC Canada service. I find the shows that I like to watch generally will not be popular with mainstream TV audiences, while shows such as "Breaking Bad" and "The Walking Dead" (for example) have zero appeal for me.

  42. For some reason, cable companies have started to placate the non-sports fans by offering sports-free packages. But why isn't there an option for sports fans to only get the sports channels? Honestly, I could live without the majority of cable channels, because there are very few shows I need to see "right now", so catching them on a streaming app, even if it was after the season would be fine.

    Although, one of the biggest advantages for cable for me right now is being able to leave the main cable box on Disney Jr. at night, and then when my kid wakes up in the morning, he only has to turn the TV on (which he can do on the set itself), and he's got cartoons. It's a lot easier (and safer) than him trying to stumble around Amazon and Netflix.

  43. I decided long ago that TV/Internet is something I enjoy, and don't really care what I spend on it (within reason). I want immediate access to what I want to watch, when I want to watch it, without jumping through hoops. Plus, I'm a huge college and pro football fan, so NFL Sunday Ticket and access to a full array of ESPN/ABC/CBS/FOX channels is necessary from September through February. My wife likes having her choice of things to watch as well. Yes, there are lots of channels in our package that we don't watch, but it really doesn't bother me as I figure if I put together an "a la carte" menu of changes (if one was available), I'd probably pay just as much.

    For me, it's an extra that I really don't mind paying for.

    Hell, most of the people I work with spend more eating lunch out during the month than I do on my TV/Internet package.

    Everyone's priorities are different.

  44. I killed my sub to Directtv 7 1/2 years ago. The simple fact was that I was watching only a few channels, not remotely enough to justify the cost. Watching any movie channel was basically worthless, since I could get better quality on Blu Ray, and and no HBO nonsense about cropping widescreen movies to 16:9 (even worse is the truly execrable practice by the so-called superstations of cropping movies to 4:3, THEN squeezing them to 16:9. UGH). I installed a roof antenna, giving me access to football games, and providing access to syndicated reruns and new shows that I DON'T have to pay to watch. I also discovered that there's a hell of a lot of interesting stuff on Youtube, anything from cooking to science to philosophy, etc. and even old movies. Yes, I have to pay for the Internet, but I was paying for that anyway, so why bother with the extra cost?

  45. We still have Comcast cable, but I do the "dance" with them every two years when our contract is up to get it back down. Our bill for Internet (175Mbps download speed), TV and home phone is $160 per month. We have fiber optic cabling from Comcast, AT&T and Wide Open West running through our back yard, so competition gives me leverage to negotiate. Comcast has a free app for Roku that eliminates the need for convertor boxes on a few of our TV's, saving $10 per month per TV. We do not have a DVR.

    I watch almost exclusively sports on TV — in my case, college and NFL football, NHL & junior hockey and pro golf. That means wanting access to the ESPNs, Fox Sports Channels, NBC Sports channels, the NHL Network, the Big Ten Network, and the Golf Channel — as well as Fox, NBC, ABC and CBS. My wife watches some shows on several cable channels, so our tastes and viewing are pretty much polar opposites. It's difficult to get all that via streaming and save money versus what I am paying.

    Other than sports, I usually either watch something from my own film library or stream a show or movie via Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes or TCM. We used to also have Hulu, but lost our free subscription we were getting through our Sprint cellular account when I changed our plan, saving over $30 per month. We have never subscribed to Netflix.

  46. @Jeffery_H

    With all due respect, your editing makes it difficult and overly time-consuming to respond in kind so I'll just sum it up as follows.

    If you are happy with your personal situation then "good on you." If you're trying to convince me that it's ideal we'll just have to disagree. I also think you're confusing HOA policies with case law.

  47. atfree

    I decided long ago that TV/Internet is something I enjoy, and don't really care what I spend on it (within reason). I want immediate access to what I want to watch, when I want to watch it, without jumping through hoops. Plus, I'm a huge college and pro football fan, so NFL Sunday Ticket and access to a full array of ESPN/ABC/CBS/FOX channels is necessary from September through February. My wife likes having her choice of things to watch as well. Yes, there are lots of channels in our package that we don't watch, but it really doesn't bother me as I figure if I put together an "a la carte" menu of changes (if one was available), I'd probably pay just as much.

    For me, it's an extra that I really don't mind paying for.

    Hell, most of the people I work with spend more eating lunch out during the month than I do on my TV/Internet package.

    Everyone's priorities are different.

    Well said. My outlook and sensitivities are different but I respect and understand yours.

  48. Neil Middlemiss

    I’ve never live streamed, but according to their site, you can:

    “If you're unable to watch Survivor live at 8/7c on Wednesdays on CBS, all you need to watch is CBS All Access! With CBS All Access, you can stream the episode in real time or as soon as the newest episode becomes available to subscribers.

    And I’ve just heard that SYTYCD is on Hulu. So I’ll have to revisit this when my fios contract is up.

  49. Well I haven't cut the cord and probably never will completely. I'm just trying to bring the cost down to outrageous from impossible-to-believe.

    Almost a year ago I bought a digital indoor antenna from Amazon for about $20 and tried it out on my two home TVs. It worked in both places but was not aesthetically pleasing and the results were sub-optimal. But it would probably work in a pinch if my satellite went out for a day or so. I brought it to our vacation home on the coast near Boston and found that I could access 50 or more channels. All of the main channels ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, PBS were available with good quality feeds and many of their sub-channels featuring oldies-but-goodies (this morning "I Married Joan" and a Bogie/Ava Gardner movie, probably "The Barefoot Contessa"). And the antenna was just on the floor behind the cabinet holding the TV. In the right place, I would unhesitatingly use this for local stations. Most cable/satellite services charge $10 for local stations and $10 more for "local" sports, — apparently a fee taken by the local government.

    When my Apple TV (ver 1) died more or less at the beginning of the year, DirectvNOW streaming was giving away new AppleTV 4K units with the purchase of 3 months of their service at $35 per month paid up front. I bought it and used it for 3 months, everything bundled (taxes, fees, etc). I found that package (50 ish channels) to be adequate. More money bought you more channels. The price has since risen to $40/ month and this rate requires you to sign up for automatic drafting (something I would never do with Comcast).

    The total for this is still about $1500 per year (including Prime and my leaching my daughter's Hulu [which I believe is legal] Now this is still a lot of money but Internet plus Prime would run me almost $1000 and currently I'm probably paying $2500 per year. I'm afraid to actually check.

    Finally, I'm not a sports fan but I am a fan of teams (Braves, Skins, Red Wings, Duke, Auburn, Syracuse) and players, but I have no interest in buying "total" access to a sport.

  50. DaveF

    That's the entire home theater hobby — myself included — right there! 🙂

    Never thought I'd have to disagree with my main HTPC proponent, @DaveF 🙂 but this hobby [and this forum] is anything but pointless to me. It keeps me entertained oftentimes and also keeps my aging brain fresh as I try to stay current with all of the moving parts.

    Of course I know where you guys are coming from. It is certainly an expensive hobby best suited for those who really love music, film, etc.

  51. John Dirk

    Never thought I'd have to disagree with my main HTPC proponent, @DaveF 🙂 but this hobby [and this forum] is anything but pointless to me. It keeps me entertained oftentimes and also keeps my aging brain fresh as I try to stay current with all of the moving parts.

    Of course I know where you guys are coming from. It is certainly an expensive hobby best suited for those who really love music, film, etc.

    I say that in the sense that it’s “pointless” in the way the cable tv and smartphones are pointless. I’m lightheartedly pushing back at JohnRice’s comment that the stuff he pays for is worthwhile but the stuff he eschews is pointless.

    I think eating out is a great way to spend my money, but to others that would be a pointless waste.

    Just as home theater expenses to us — which can include cable tv — is a necessary cost while to others it will be pointless.

    There’s probably a George Carlin routine relevant to the topic 😉

  52. I've mostly cut the cord. I have had cable a couple of times over the past 20 years when I've lived with people who wanted it, and I've had Sling a couple of times over the summer specifically for watching the Royals when I could. (Sadly, this year they stink AND I am working during most of their games.) Otherwise, I've been very happy with my disc collection and my antenna. I recently moved in with my girlfriend who has Netflix (so I cancelled mine, which I didn't watch enough anyway) and Hulu, so I'll be able to watch the Veronica Mars revival, should that come about. But for the most part, I'm very content to not have cable.

  53. I cut the cord several years ago and have never looked back. We didn't do it for financial reasons, we did it for better content. Cable TV is one garbage channel after another.

    Also, I get free internet so my entertainment bills is ridiculously low! 🙂

  54. “Cutting the cord” is a figure of speech. I hope my son cuts the cord to my wallet one day too, but there is no actual cord. It’s refers to eliminating paying the cable or
    Phone company for the honor of simply reselling you someone else’s content.

    Yes, if you eliminate cable tv service, your internet bill may go up slightly. But that is because you get a discount for buying both internet and tv. But we have saved a ton by eliminating the tv part. Even though our internet bill went up slightly.

    Streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc should not be factored into costs. Many people with cable tv subscribe to them as well. They cost the same whether you have cable tv or not.

  55. Going on 1 year of having "cut the cord". Overall it's been pretty painless. We usually find something old school or new to watch daily and we use Tivo to record any network stuff. Internet rates have stayed fairly steady since the switch and we did save more by dropping our landline to just bare "per minute" lifeline style set up just so we can have the alarm hooked to it.

    Right now we're evaluating what to keep or toss as far as streaming services. Netflix is a keeper, Hulu has been spotty and we don't use it as much and Amazon Prime has been a complete waste of money. They have utter crap as far as content goes.We are dumping Amazon once our 1 year date hits.

    Overall my family is happy with the switch and I don't foresee going back to cable.

  56. We initially signed up because so many folks kept touting how wonderful their streaming catalog was. Once we sat down to look, it seems 90% of their offerings are stale older movies and obscure TV shows and independent movies. We can never really find higher profile popular movies that we like. All the rest of their offerings you must pay to own or rent to watch.

  57. Is there any streaming option that allows viewing of NFL games in real time? I've thought about dropping some or all of my cable, but enjoy the NFL games through the fall.

    I've also been frustrated that I don't seem to receive all the channels I'm supposed to in my current package (Spectrum/Charter), and there are a number of channels that seem to "come and go" on my system seemingly at random, presumably due to weak signal (such as ESPN and other sports nets, TBS/TNT, etc.). The cable tech was out last year and said he put an amplifier on the pole outside my house, but it didn't seem to help much.

  58. Malcolm R

    I've also been frustrated that I don't seem to receive all the channels I'm supposed to in my current package (Spectrum/Charter),

    I am a Spectrum customer because they bought up Time Warner Cable. I live in NY, and Spectrum has just been ordered to cease operations in the state because they have apparently not lived up to the obligations they agreed to as part of their conditions for being allowed to buy Time Warner Cable. I believe that order is being appealed but I am very curious to see how it works out.

    I don't think I've experienced the worst of what Spectrum is being accused of not providing, but I have also noticed that none of the promised improvements they advertised when they took over for TWC have come to fruition either.

  59. We've had Charter/Spectrum forever here, so we don't have any of the merger issues I guess.

    Somehow, over the years, they've managed to find that perfect spot where their TV service is "good enough" that I've kept it, though I'm not ever really "happy" with it. On the other hand, I don't really have any complaints with their Internet service, so maybe I just need to do more streaming.

  60. Malcolm R

    We've had Charter/Spectrum forever here, so we don't have any of the merger issues I guess.

    Somehow, over the years, they've managed to find that perfect spot where their TV service is "good enough" that I've kept it, though I'm not ever really "happy" with it. On the other hand, I don't really have any complaints with their Internet service, so maybe I just need to do more streaming.

    The whole Spectrum issue is wrapped up in NY politics. I doubt it will come of anything, and if it does I wonder what I'll get out of it, or won't, as a longtime TW/Spectrum customer. "Good enough" is how I'd also describe my cable, phone, and internet service, noting that I haven't had any buffering issues in quite some time. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/06/nyregion/cuomo-charter-spectrum-license-ny1.html

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