More people are ditching home Internet than cable TV
With the rise in streaming services over the past few years, a lot has been said about the practice of cord cutting—ditching your paid cable TV service and relying on a digital antenna and streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Crackle) for all your content. Those who have done it will talk about all the money they're saving, and how cord-cutting is the future. We've even done a showcase on it: gdgt.com/showcase/cut-the-cord-get-tv-without-cabl...
However, only 0.4% of households have actually taken the step. This might be because it's still fairly early (Netflix, for example, only started instant streaming in 2009). And the Internet can only offer so much—the sports offerings aren't very strong (for example, NFL Sunday Ticket is still a DirecTV exclusive).
What more people are doing, though, instead of getting rid of their cable TV, is that they're actually getting rid of their home Internet service. 1% of households, in fact—which may still seem like a small number, but it's more than twice as big as the number of cable cord cutters. These people choose to rely on free WiFi offered by places like libraries and coffee shops, they use the Internet at work, or most significantly, they rely on their smartphone data plan. Smartphone penetration is now past the 50% mark in the United States, and it's only going to increase as companies eliminate sales of featurephones and voice-only plans. (adage.com/article/digital/a-majority-u-s-mobile-us...)
Using your smartphone for music or video streaming is a proposition that can get real expensive real fast, but if you're just using the Internet for Facebook and Twitter, email, and light web surfing, then essentially paying twice for an Internet connection seems a bit silly and wasteful.
It's unlikely anyone would drop both; unless, of course, they don't watch much TV in the first place. But with cable+Internet bills topping $100, and data plan prices going up as well (both AT&T and Verizon famously raised their prices last year, www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/01/att-data-plan-chan...), it seems like something has to give.
Whether you were on a tight budget, or just wanted to cut some costs, what would you give up? Have you already cut the cable cord? Could you live without home Internet?
(photo by Alyssa & Colin, CC BY-SA 2.0 www.flickr.com/photos/23818635@N08/8147897349/in/p...)
On the other hand, I can't imagine not having internet at home. I'd much rather pick something to watch off of Netflix or play Xbox or surf the web (talk about heaps of uninteresting content :P) than sit through TV commercials. My smartphone stays on Wifi when I'm at home so I don't run my data plan up, and I don't mind paying extra for a higher, steadier connection. But that's just what works for me.
A quick comparison this morning at home;
Time Warner Roadrunner Cable (home) - 35.98 Mbps download and 0.96 Mbps upload with a 36ms ping
Verizon 4G LTE on Samsung Galaxy Nexus - 1.6 Mbps download and 1.11 Mbps upload with 38 ms ping
If these results continue to be the same then I wouldn't be able to cut the home internet and stream my entertainment.
However, my girlfriend lives without cable or internet in her place. One of the few people I know that do. There are certain advantages and disadvantages to this.
- The cat gets tons more attention
- She has time to write, and paint, and read.
- Of course no monthly bill
- I have no option to work remotely from her place
- Entertainment options are limited
Cable = $50
Internet = $50
As a discounted bundle = $80
If you ditch just the cable and pay $50 for Internet, that's still $30 you're not paying.
Just because something is a great deal doesn't mean you have to buy it in the first place.
As far as internet goes, now that I don't have time for multiplayer games anymore, I am less concerned with making sure I have home internet as long as I have access of some kind. I would never want to rely on having to go to coffee shops / the library / the office to get access, though. I could switch from cable to cellular with no problem assuming the price was comparable and we could still stream Netflix and Game Rewind without hitting a data cap. Oh, right, nevermind, I guess I need home internet. ;)
If someone keeps their cable subscription because the cable company offered them free broadcast TV... well, then they're a fool. It's free anyway, all you need is an antenna, and I think people are starting to wise up to that fact.
Also, Charter's DVR interface is extremely frustrating compared to the Roku.
It's my belief, that most computer savvy/dependent people are carrying smart phones w/ data plans (a.k.a. mobile broadband hot-spots) and are learning what tethering is.
If your internet was cable...that's like hiring a different cable provider for every TV in your house. Nobody does that. They buy their cable one time, from one provider, and watch it on whatever TV they want.
I'm surprised there was no mention of people ditching home 'land-line' phone service (a product required for the second time you buy internet) and replacing it with the cell phone service they're already paying for.
Was the fact that, cable providers are also in the internet business and are pulling customers away from traditional internet providers, ever factored into this equation?
Alternatively, I got a 3G router and a data-only SIM and had internet instantly and without a ridiculous insurance deposit.
I am all for using my cell phone, but not enough to replace my internet entirely.
While I i hate not getting to watch shows when they air or have to be completely still when I use an antenna, it saving us money. I have considered switching to a cell service through Wal-Mart to save more but their phone options do not satisfy my needs.
I am hoping soon that cable companies will switch to either a usage model, or allow you to have apps like hbo go for abc, cbs, etc. that i can just pay for. They can even keep commercials in them as well.
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