Bundle Battles: The Best Package for Cable, Voice, Internet and More
Bundling services through one provider can be a great way to save money – if you know what to look for.
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July 29, 2008 by Ben Hardy
Verizon FiOS
Verizon’s FiOS service continues to expand in availability across the country. Faster internet speeds and fiber optic reliability brings a slightly higher monthly bill, but the anticipation for service has most consumers quick to make the install call as soon as able.

Rates retrieved apply to the Virginia Beach, VA, area. Internet service is for 10Mbps/2Mbps (download/upload); the FiOS TV Premier package includes 200 digital channels (44 HD channels), a dual tuner DVR, and an extensive On Demand library.

Bundle TV Internet Phone Wireless Cost
Double Freedom   X X   $79.99
Triple Freedom X X X   $114.99
Ultimate Freedom X X X X $154.99

Cox Communications
For Cox Communications we used a San Diego, CA, address, and selected a few of the more attractive bundle offers. Cox’s website did a nice job detailing the many ways a customer could package together a bundle; unfortunately their customer service wasn’t quite as helpful with the “hypothetical” customer call. Apparently they don’t have time for inquiring minds – they just want sign-ups.

Internet speeds listed are download speeds. Programming package specifics for Cox TV services can be found on their website. The number indicates the number of TV packages included in the bundle.

Bundle TV Internet Phone Cost
  Standard Cable Digital 3 Digital 4 1.5 Mbps 7 Mbps Primary Line Only Connection Unlimited Plus  
Unlimited Bundle X   X   X   X $66
Cable & Internet X X     X     $66
Cable & Internet 2 X       X     $99
Internet & Phone         X X   $129
Cable & Phone X X       X   $159

Time Warner
Time Warner’s online bundle information was straight-forward and easy to understand. They break their bundles into clever names, like Surf & Chat for Internet and Phone, or View & Surf for TV and Internet. All the bundles that include TV come with 1 Digital Pak, with the exception of the “Everything” bundle, which has 4 Digital Paks. Bundled internet service brings consumers Time Warner’s “Road Runner Standard” service (10Mbps/1Mbps), and the Phone plan is their Nationwide Unlimited.

Bundle TV Internet Phone Cost
Surf & Chat   X X $89.99
View & Chat X   X $89.99
View & Surf X X   $89.99
Value X X X $124.99
Everything X X X $134.99

AT&T
Although AT&T’s U-verse IPTV service is available in select states across the country, they aren’t advertising bundles that include the service. Instead, their TV service comes courtesy of a partnership with Dish Network. The “DishDVR” TV service included in AT&T’s bundles comes with over 100 channels and 2-room DVR service. Their bundled Internet offering features the AT&T High Speed Internet Basic or Pro package (768Kbps/384Kbps and 3Mbps/512Kbps, respectively). Phone service is for the “All Distance Online Select,” which includes unlimited local and long distance calls inside the US. The wireless end of the Quad Pack brings AT&T’s “Nation 450 with Rollover” plan, with unlimited mobile-to-mobile, 450 anytime minutes and 5000 night and weekend minutes.

The website makes it very easy to plug in your zip code and find out which services and bundle plans are available in your area. The website also allows consumers to mix and match plan specifics within each service to see how, say, a faster internet plan for the Triple Pak with effect the bottom line.

Bundle TV Internet Phone Wireless Cost
    Basic Pro      
Double Pack     X X   $65
Triple Pack   X   X X $99.94
Quad Pack X   X X X $149.98

Qwest
Like AT&T, Qwest’s Internet service is DSL, and they, too, have partnered with a satellite company (DirecTV) to bring digital TV into their bundle. They have a functional website with the ability to easily add or subtract services from the bundle and quickly see the changes to the bottom line. We used a Phoenix, Arizona address for rate information.

Qwest’s DSL internet speeds are pretty slow (512Kbps download), and in order to get unlimited long distance one has to tack on $20/month to one of Qwest’s home phone plans, which range from $13.18 (for the basic plan with no features) to $42.99 (for 2 lines and 10 features). For the table below we chose the $25.99/month “Qwest Choice Home” plan and added the $20/month unlimited long distance plan. The wireless option adds $39.99 to the monthly bill and comes with a free Sanyo S1 phone and a 500-minute calling plan.

Options under the TV side of things are plenty – we chose DirecTV’s “DirecTV Plus HD DVR plan” for the Quad Bundle 2, and the more basic Choice plan for the other bundles that include Cable. Strangely enough, one cannot choose a “Cable & Internet” bundle option – apparently you MUST subscribe to Qwest’s phone service.

Bundle TV Internet Phone Phone Cost
  Choice Plus HD DVR        
Internet & Phone     X X   $67.98
Cable & Phone X     X   $75.98
Triple Bundle X   X X   $97.97
Quad Bundle X   X X X $120.96
Quad Bundle 2   X X X X $135.96

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Ben Hardy - Contributing Writer
Between watching re-runs of the The Jetsons and convincing his Insteon and Z-Wave controls to get along, Ben Hardy is immersed in the world of home automation, home control, and home networking.

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