If you live in Watsonville, California, you can go to Charter Communications’ website and find a triple play package that gives you 60 Mbps download speeds, more than 200 channels of television, HD included, a digital video recorder and unlimited long distance calling for as little as $70 a month. There are strings attached at that price point, but it’s still a pretty good deal.
If you live in the Salinas Valley, 40 miles to the south in Gonzales, it’s a different story. That’s Charter territory, too, but the website won’t tell what you can get. For that information, you either to have call or start an online chat with a sales agent. What you’ll learn is…
Charter sales agent: It looks like your address is only analog TV serviceable. Did you want to go ahead and set up TV Basic for $26.99 per month?
Me: How many channels are available?
Charter sales agent: It looks like TV Basic has about nineteen channels.
Me: Can I get any more than that? Any pay per view?
Charter sales agent: It does look like expanded basic is available for $28.00, TMC Analog for $11.95, HBO Analog for $13.95, Showtime Analog for $12.95, and Cinemax Analog for $11.95. Pay Per View would require digital service. Did you want to set up any of these packages or did you have any other questions?
Me: Is that an extra $28, or $28 total?
Charter sales agent: That would be an additional $28 on top of the $26.99 that you are paying for basic.
Me: So the most I could get is 32 channels of basic, plus 4 premium channels? No pay per view, no DVR, no Internet service, no telephone?
Charter sales agent: That is correct, Steve. You are not within the Charter Spectrum or Charter digital footprint at this time. Was there anything else I can help you with today?
Me: Are the 4 premium channels each priced separately, or can I get a bundle of some kind?
Charter sales agent: They are each priced separately, Steve. We do not have a bundled package for them at this time. Did you want to add Charter analog TV services today?
I edited some extraneous Q&A out of that transcript – if you want the full version, just ask in the comments below – but the message is clear.
If you live in Gonzales, you’ll pay $94 to rock the 80s with 36 channels of analog TV. Welcome to the redlined side of the digital divide.
I’m assisting the City of Gonzales with its effort to upgrade broadband service for all its residents. I am not a disinterested commentator. Take it for what it’s worth.