Customers question digital cable prices

Craig Vanderkam and Craig Vanderkam

Time Warner’s hold on the Bowling Green cable market has some customers questioning their pricing plans, and whether or not they are motivated to provide the best possible service at the lowest possible prices.

Time Warner Government Affairs Manager Pat McCauley said rates are consistent from community to community, but prices may vary by division.

“Time Warner Cable in Ohio has three separate divisions: Northeast, Mid-Ohio and Southwest Ohio,” McCauley said. “Those divisions are able to set their rates as they see fit for that market.”

In Bowling Green, part of the Mid-Ohio division, for example, customers pay $95.85 a month plus tax for digital cable and Road Runner high-speed Internet.

Katy Senn, a senior at the University, feels this is a direct result of the nature of the marketplace.

“My guess for why it’s so expensive in BG is the lack of competition,” Senn said. “Time Warner has a monopoly and can do whatever they want with prices.”

Senn, after originally signing up with Time Warner, has since switched to basic cable and Road Runner Lite.

“I currently pay about $15 for basic cable,” Senn said. “Since I don’t download movies or music I don’t need the really fast [Internet] connection, so I pay $25 for internet [a month].”

Junior Kelsey Stein said she does not mind paying for digital cable and high speed Internet.

“I live with four other people and we each pay about $20 each [per month],” Stein said. “I think that’s pretty reasonable. We even have DVR for that price.”

In Bowling Green, Time Warner is the only cable service available. Because of this, some question the objectivity of their pricing policies.

“Apparently, your rate depends on the person you speak with when you set up the service,” Senn said. “I have friends who pay less than me, even though I asked for the most basic package they had available.”

Even though Time Warner is the only current cable offering, there are alternatives. Wade LaFever, a junior, opted for satellite when he moved into his house this summer.

“DirecTV offers programming that better fits my interests,” LaFever said. “It’s better for sports so I can watch my favorite teams on a nightly basis. We do use Time Warner for Internet and have never had a problem with it.”