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“Cutting the Cord” 101: A Step-by-Step Guide to Ditching Cable

Traditional cable companies are massive, sluggish mega-corporations with lousy customer care and outdated technology, and cutting the cord is about saying no to sub-par service. It may seem daunting to ditch the familiar cable service you’ve always had, but cheaper, faster, greener pastures await … and getting there isn’t hard.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to cut the cord, ditch cable, and save money in the process. 

Why Switch?

Savings: Depending on your needs, cutting the cord can save you a lot of money. While a household that subscribes to a lot of streaming services (HBO Max, Disney+, Hulu + Live TV, Netflix, etc.) might wind up with a comparable bill when they cut the cord, you will see savings if you are underutilizing what you already have with your current service.

For example, if you only want to watch live TV, a YouTubeTV subscription is only $64.99 a month + the cost of the Internet service you’re probably already paying for. If you just want to watch movies and aren’t particularly interested in HD content, you can get a Netflix subscription for as little as $9.99 a month. No matter what, cutting the cord lets you make the choice – rather than the cable company. 

Speed: There’s just no way around it, fiber is faster. According to ZDNet, thanks to the way fiber works, it’s simply the fastest data provider — outstripping traditional copper cables by quite a margin. At Upstate Fiber Networks, speeds start at 250 Mbps and are symmetrical (meaning that download speeds and upload speeds are identical). 

Service: Thanks to their captive audience, giant cable companies don’t always provide the best customer service— they don’t have to. You’ll keep coming back, and if you don’t, someone else will. With Upstate Fiber Networks, there are no annual contracts and friendly people (not robots) on the other end of the phone. 

How to Switch

  • Check on Termination Fees: Cable providers often lock you into a contract (not Upstate Fiber Networks) with early termination fees. Before you cut the cord, read the fine print on your contract and figure out what kind of fee you can expect when you make the call to cancel. Most termination fees are structured around how much time is left on your current contract, while a few are just a flat rate. Either way, do the math — you might be so sick and tired of big cable you’d pay anything to bid them good day. Another thing to consider is that if you were unsatisfied with the service (slow speeds, outages, etc.), you might be able to call a customer service representative and convince them to waive the early termination fee. 
  • Figure Out What You Need: Once you’ve decided to cut the cord, it’s time to figure out what you want and need. Are you a gamer? How many devices are in your house? How many people will be using the Internet at the same time? Are you going to want telephone service? How much do you want to spend?

    The first thing you need to determine is what you’ll be using fiber for — streaming TV and movies, surfing the Internet & using social media, gaming, work (video conferencing and remoting into the office). Then, you need to figure out how many people and devices will be connected simultaneously. This will determine the kinds of speeds you’re going to need. Consumer Reports has a really handy calculator that will help you answer this exact question.

    Remember, upload speeds matter too — this is especially true if you have smart home security cameras, do a lot of video conferencing, or upload a lot of large files.
  • Pick a Provider: Once you’ve got an upload/download speed/bandwidth range in mind it’s time to shop for a provider. We are partial to Upstate Fiber Networks, but BROADBANDNOW is a search engine for service providers. All you have to do is provide your ZIP code, and BROADBANDNOW will show you all the providers in your area, tell you what kind of service they provide (DSL, cable, wireless, fiber), pricing, and maximum speeds. Once you’ve found what you’re looking for, click through to the provider’s website and call or register online. 
  • Cancel Your Service: One of the last things you need to do is actually cancel your existing service. Some companies bury their online cancellation process, so putting up with the wait time to get an actual human on the phone is usually the best bet. Be aware that they will try to entice you back with temporary discounts and high-pressure pitches.
  • Send Back Your Equipment: Once you’ve canceled your service it’s time to send back your equipment (modem, router, cable box — whatever you have). If you search on the company’s website or simply Google the name of the company and “return equipment” you will find a page of instructions on how to return what you’ve been renting. Most companies will allow you to mail it, drop it off at a physical location or arrange for a pickup at your home.

    While we recommend dropping it off if it isn’t a major inconvenience (this way you know they received it), any option is OK as long as you get a receipt. Lost or unreturned equipment fees can be really high — even for a remote. 

 What You’ll Need

Once the cord has been cut and you’re up and running with your new service provider, there will be a few things that you’ll need to get the most out of your newfound freedom. Besides the equipment you will get from your new service provider (an UFN GigaSpire Ultimate WiFi 6 router from Upstate Fiber Networks, for example), you will need a streaming device and content subscriptions.
 
When it comes to streaming devices, the choices are nearly limitless, but you will need a device that can connect to the Internet and stream content. Apple, Amazon, Google, Roku, and NVIDIA all make dedicated streaming tech: dongles, sticks, pucks, shields, you name it. There are also smart TVs with this technology already built in: Amazon Fire TVs and Roku TVs (from a wide array of TV manufacturers) are the most popular. You can even stream anything and everything directly from your phones, computers, and tablets — and some of the most powerful streaming devices are modern gaming consoles like Sony’s PS5 and Microsoft’s Xbox.

While all of these devices perform the same function, there are subtle differences in audio and video quality, aesthetics and overall user experience. If you don’t care too much about it looking or sounding the best, going with your TV’s built-in smart device is just fine. If you don’t have a smart TV, you can’t beat the $29 Roku Express 4K Plus — it’s a workhorse and inexpensive. If you want a premium experience to hook up to your home theater, go with the NVIDIA Shield or the Apple TV 4K, neither of them are cheap but they will deliver the best audiovisual streaming experience on the market. 

Now that you have a shiny new streaming device, it is time to subscribe to some services.

Want to watch movies? Or is live TV more your thing? What about sports?

In the past five years or so, streaming subscription options (especially live TV) have exploded. While Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu continue to enjoy success as goto TV and movie streaming services, HBO Max, Apple TV+, Disney+, Paramount+ and Peacock are making huge inroads with original content. Disney+ and its library of Marvel properties and Disney classics has been particularly popular. 

Want live TV and sports packages?

YouTubeTV, Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV and FuboTV all offer competitively priced (cheaper than cable) live TV packages that will deliver all the local and cable TV channels and sports you’re used to — some of them have even started to introduce DVR functionality. As for just sports, you can subscribe to ESPN+ to get live sports coverage and games that ESPN covers and some leagues even have their own streaming packages like MLB.TV, NFL Sunday Ticket and NBA TV.

Enjoy!

Now that you’ve cut the cord and have blazing-fast, reliable Upstate Fiber Networks Fiber Internet, you can sit back and relax. Separating yourself from the cable companies means that you can pick and choose the services — TV, movies, at-home phone — without being locked into ridiculous contracts or saddled with content you’re never going to use.

You have the freedom to decide what you’re going to bring into your home, when you’re going to bring it in, and where. Take a deep breath, you’re back in control. 

Ready to cut the cord? Check your address or get in touch with our super-friendly Customer Service team to get started today.