As further evidence that we don't have a truly competitive marketplace comes a round of price increases on all kinds of telecommunications services. Verizon has decided to jack up rates a whopping 12% on FIOS TV before the dust has even settled on installations in most states. Cablevision, though they have no shiny new fiber optic network to pay off, has decided to send through an increase of 4.7% in 2008. Both providers say that the cost of providing programming is to blame. My response? Stop forcing us to buy so many damned channels you greedy bastards.
Cell phones are getting more expensive too and for the same reason: we're paying a lot of money for services we don't use. When was the last time you sent a video or picture message? Or sent more than 1000 text messages in a month? Or grabbed a few new ringtones from the online store? Apparently only about 34% of you care for such things. Fat lot of good competition is doing.
Even dial-up can't catch a break. In a move designed to force people onto DSL or U-Verse, AT&T has raised the price on every single one of their dial-up offerings to make them all more expensive than DSL. What if you can't qualify for DSL? Tough noogies from everyone's (least) favorite phone company.
Now would be the time to put on your negotiating hat and talk tough with your providers. Both AT&T and Embarq offer super-secret "naked" DSL if you know how to ask for it. You might also be able to wring a "new customer only" deal out of Verizon on DSL service. You can also do a bit of legwork and threaten to cancel service to get a cable company to hook you up with a promo rate. I did this with Comcast and saved over $200 during the course of the 6-month retention offer.