Hate Your TV or Internet Provider? Try One of These

The best pay-TV and internet providers in the country are not the big names. Here are your best options for getting great service, according to Consumer Reports subscribers.

Hate Your TV or Internet Provider? Try One of These Photo by ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock.com

Surprise, surprise: None of the nation’s largest TV providers was rated well in a recent Consumer Reports poll.

For its August issue, Consumer Reports surveyed more than 210,000 of its subscribers about their telecommunications services. The publication found that:

“[D]iscontent with traditional providers, combined with new online options, are prompting more Americans to experiment with ‘cord cutting’ to get a better deal.”

Just in the first three months of this year, nearly 800,000 Americans ditched traditional pay-TV packages, says CR, citing findings from research firm Moffett­Nathanson.

Top pay-TV providers

Based on Consumer Reports’ survey results, the top-ranked pay-TV providers are:

  1. EPB Fiber
  2. Google Fiber
  3. Armstrong Cable

The downside to smaller and otherwise nontraditional pay-TV providers like these is that they are available in fewer areas.

In fact, EPB Fiber serves only Chattanooga, Tennessee. It’s a municipal broadband service run as a public utility, CR reports.

Google Fiber now offers services in at least 11 cities or counties across the nation, with two additional areas lined up to receive services and eight cities listed as potentially receiving services in the future.

Armstrong Cable is available in parts of Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, according to its Facebook page.

Alternatives to pay-TV

If none of those pay-TV providers are available in your area, don’t worry. Between an antenna and internet-based TV services, you have a plethora of alternatives.

A TV antenna will give you access to broadcast stations. The only cost is the one-time expense of the antenna.

Internet-based streaming-video services like Netflix and Hulu abound. Generally, you must pay a monthly or yearly fee to use the service, but it often amounts to less money than the cost of a traditional pay-TV package. And there are also free options — see “17 Places You Can (Legally) Download or Stream Free Movies and TV.”

Top internet providers

Based on Consumer Reports’ survey results, the top-ranked internet providers are:

  1. Google Fiber
  2. Consolidated Fiber and Armstrong Cable (tie)
  3. EPB Fiber and RCN Cable (tie)

Consolidated Fiber serves 11 states. RCN Cable serves select metropolitan areas of Illinois, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania as well as the Washington, D.C., area.

Even if you don’t have a great cable or internet provider in your town, you can still find ways to save money.

For example, Comcast seems to be the only internet provider in my area, so my household is stuck with Comcast internet for now. But we only pay Comcast for internet, not TV — which saves us a bundle.

Instead of paying Comcast for TV, we bought a TV antenna and subscribe to a couple of internet-based streaming-video services.

Money Talks News writer Geof Wheelwright made similar moves, enabling him to cut his TV costs from more than $100 a month for cable TV to $45.30 for several internet-based services. For a detailed explanation of how he pulled that off, check out his article “How to Cut the Cable TV Cord in 2017.”

Have you cut the cable TV cord? Let us know whether it saved you money — comment below or on our Facebook page.

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