LOS ANGELES - Verizon FIOS got lots of favorable press this week for a new plan to let consumers break free of programming bundles and get lower TV bills.
Turns out the offer, an attempt to appeal to the cutting the cord crowd, isn't what was advertised, at least not for this USA TODAY reporter.
Sunday, the new plans were revealed online, and the end result for me—at least as quoted by a Verizon rep on the phone—a savings of not $25, $50 or $75 monthly for ditching dozens of channels I don't want, but just $5 monthly.
Verizon starts with a base price of $54.99 for the networks, plus CNN, AMC, Food Network, WE, Bloomberg and some lesser tier channels.
From there, consumers get to pick from two other tiers--packages that include:
—Lifestyle: Bravo, Lifetime, A&E
—Entertainment: TBS, TNT, FX, TCM.
—News: Fox News,. MSNBC, C-SPAN.
—Pop Culture: E! Entertainment TV, Comedy Central, MTV, VH1.
—Kids: Nickelodeon, Disney.
—Two sports tiers with ESPN and regional networks. (ESPN says Verizon doesn't have the right to use the network in a smaller bundle. But it's still there, at least as of Sunday.)
My current FIOS has over 1,000 channels, and I only watch a handful of them. I do like the DVR and FIOS's on-demand features, which has current movies for around $5 (I rarely order) and recent episodes of network offerings for free.
Since my average bill is always over $200 for TV, Internet and the phone, I'd love to lose most of the channels, and whack it down to $100.
My current bill is for $209.78, and that includes all those TV channels, two DVRs (one each for the bedroom and living room) two phones and Internet service.
In talking to the rep, I chose the base price, plus two other tiers, which I could have lived without—but they were part of the deal.
Verizon's best offer: $203.34.
So much for Verizon's cutting the cord compromise.