Way Off-topic: Why cutting the cord was right for me

FYI: This one is way off topic so don’t expect to find any fancy SQL tips here.

I did it. I cut the cord on cable TV. I never saw this coming but a few weeks ago I decided it was time.

How it started

To be more clear, the decision came a couple months ago. I was on one of the unlimited data plans with AT&T. At some point I got a text saying that even my 900 minutes would be unlimited. I suppose they just didn’t want to track this for their customers anymore and gave me unlimited everything.

I was very happy with this plan with the exception of no tethering being allowed. A couple months ago, I got a letter in the mail from the AT&T corporate offices. To paraphrase, it said that I have 3 options. I could:

  1. Pay more ($5 / line) to keep my already over priced grandfathered unlimited plan.
  2. Switch to a plan I didn’t want.
  3. Cancel my service with no early termination fee.

I chose the option I felt they wanted the least and that’s to go nuclear. I chose option 3. I had bought 2 Microsoft 950’s the week before AT&T did away with long term contracts and I had a year left on my 2 year contract.

I’ll say it was a pain, having to escalate all the way to the executive office to ask them to unlock my phones. The initial response was that I couldn’t unlock my phones because I was under contract. After clearing that up and finally getting my phones unlocked, my wife dropped hers face flat like a pancake and the screen shattered. LOL is all I could do.

We went to T-Mobile and got everything switched. I’m now saving $67/mo for two lines and I have unlimited data with tethering!!

Cutting the cord

Along with my over-priced AT&T unlimited plan that I was content on keeping forever, I also had Uverse. I was quite happy with AT&T Uverse when I lived in Austin. After all Gigabit internet makes everyone happy. Sadly when I moved back to Dallas, the neighborhood only had copper lines and all they could provide was 18Mb. Considering we had 3 TVs hooked up and each TV takes 6Mb of throughput this was not a good situation. None the less I kept it because I liked the menu system and it was familiar to me.

Then came the AT&T choose or die letter for my cell service. I figured if I’m dumping them for T-Mobile I may as well get rid of Uverse as well. It was more than $200/mo! Spectrum has been sending me business internet ads since I moved in. Claiming speeds of 300Mb. I’m no fan of cable internet though.

I decided I’d have the two side-by-side for a few days and cancel which ever was worse. Spectrum actually delivered. I’m only on a 60Mb plan but I’m getting continuous speeds of 72Mb and only paying a fraction of Uverse. I’ve setup Sling on Roku devices for each of the TVs and I can say it works quite well.

I honestly don’t miss Uverse at all. My wife made the comment the other day about how nice it is because my 6 yr old is back to watching PBS and other “learning” type shows for kids rather than things like teen titans. This doesn’t mean there are less options it’s just that he has discovered other ways to watch.

I do run Sling on an XBOX One for one room. I’d say mostly we watch movies from the Microsoft Movies and TV app on the XBOX though. The only thing I’d say we miss is ABC but I can’t say I miss it that much to switch back or to buy an HD antenna.

Summing up

I think the move was very positive. I like that Roku offers some things like PBS where Sling does not. The Sling interface could be improved a bit but overall it’s OK and gets the job done. Our biggest fear was that the kids (3 & 6) would notice and complain but that wasn’t the case at all.

So a big thank you to AT&T’s CEO Randall L. Stephenson for forcing me out of my overpriced plans and into saving $170/mo. Without your letter I’d still be humming along paying your company too much.

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