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Television Businesses The Internet Entertainment

Cord-Cutting Isn't Nearly as Significant as Cable Providers Make It Out To Be (cnbc.com) 143

From a report on CNBC: Despite legacy media's anxieties about cord-cutting, data suggest that the phenomenon isn't nearly as significant as cable providers make it out to be. In its 11th annual "Digital Democracy Survey," Deloitte found that the percentage of American households that subscribe to paid television services has remained relatively stable since 2012, even as adoption of streaming services has accelerated. In its survey of 2,131 consumers, Deloitte said two-thirds of respondents reported they have kept their TV subscriptions because they're bundled with their internet plan. Kevin Westcott, vice chairman and U.S. media and entertainment leader at Deloitte, told CNBC that bundling seems to be a huge deterrent for cord cutting.
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Cord-Cutting Isn't Nearly as Significant as Cable Providers Make It Out To Be

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  • by OffTheLip ( 636691 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @02:05PM (#54089807)
    The market where I live is serviced primarily by Cox and Verizon. Both offer internet only packages marginally cheaper than bundled services. So yeah, they have the cake and eat it too while still whining about everything.
    • I have cable only through cox and they do offer TV bundles that are not that much more expensive at least for the first 6 or 12 months. I think the last offer they tried to give me was a one year deal for around $10 for the first 6 months to add a tv package and then it went up $60 or maybe it was 2 years and the deal was for the first year.

      Doesn't matter I canceled the TV packages because I never watched them to begin with.

      • by Karlt1 ( 231423 )

        If Cox is anything like Comcast, the advertised price of the bundle is only the starting point. If I were to get Comcast for cable, I would be paying $50 a month for five extra cable boxes, $10 for the "HD Technology Fee", $5 for the network access fee, $7 for the sports fee and I think around $5.00 for fees that they make sound like they are government mandated but aren't. I pay $47 for a combination of Sling, CBS All Access, Netflix, and Hulu with limited commercials. I also have Amazon Prime.

    • by DuckDodgers ( 541817 ) <keeper_of_the_wolfNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @02:48PM (#54090165)
      Most consumers just don't want to give up access to first run shows. As long as the bundle price isn't too much higher than the plain internet service price, most people will stay.

      I've lived in places with Comcast, DirecTV, and Dish service and the advertised price in the brochure is never the price on your bill. Sometimes the fees and service charges they forgot to mention are $20 more. Sometimes they're $40. The promotional period expires and your bill jumps $50. I could pay the cost - I have a wonderful job in the technology field, my wife and I together spend more than $150 per month at Starbucks. But the thing is that Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus, Youtube Red, Sling TV, Playstation Vue, and Starbucks all advertise the actual price the consumer pays (not including taxes and applicable government regulatory fees). Comcast, DirecTV, and Dish still lie like hell in their advertising. But I've had enough of the dishonest pricing, we cut the cord.

      Comcast, you want my television subscription back? Mail me an offer like this: "This is the price. These are the channels and features. Here is a notarized letter stating that if the price changes in the next ten years due to anything other than changes in US taxes and government regulatory fees, we will pay you $10,000." If the price is reasonable, I'll sign up tomorrow. But I've had enough of, "We'll advertise a price and bill a price, and advertising and billing are unrelated."
      • 1. I keep cable for sports. Yeah, some ESPN streams, but there are far more sports channels available on cable than you can get streaming.
        2. My internet service comes in on the same cable and it averages 66 Mbps.

        I also watch a LOT of movies - old movies, newer movies, bad movies, good movies. If I watched that many movies at the local theater, I'd spend way more than cable costs, and the bathroom is cleaner and closer. The snacks are cheaper, too.

        I'm an Amazon Prime customer so I get their streaming service
        • I don't watch professional sports, which makes it much easier to ditch paid television service. Most of my friends and family members do watch, so I don't blame them or you for keeping a paid television subscription for ESPN.

          With respect to movies, I use Ebay, Amazon, and the bargain bins at Walmart and Target. I probably spend an average $40 per month that way, but it's still cheaper than a cable television service. My Kodi movie library is above 500 films at the moment, and (not that most people ca
          • I don't watch professional sports, which makes it much easier to ditch paid television service.

            Most college sports here in the United States are on cable as well. Last I checked, the College Football Playoff was on ESPN, and the NCAA Final Four was on TBS in alternate years, with many games in the rounds of 64, 32, 16, and 8 also on Turner cable channels.

    • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @02:55PM (#54090237)

      When I cut the cord, Time Warner kept pestering me with bundled offers, including one that basically gave me cable and internet for the same price that I'm paying now for internet only. When I turned the offer down, it drove them nuts. They clearly wanted to be able to still count me as a cable TV subscriber even if I wasn't even using the cable TV. I suspect that offers like this keep the number of cable subscribers artificially high. There are probably a lot of cord cutters out there who only still have cable because cablecos are basically giving it to them for free.

      • What a LOT of people forget, are the stupid cable boxes they want to rent you. They'll give you basically free TV, but want to charge you $7-$20 for each additional TV decoder box.

        Right now, I have unlimited Internet. But when Spectrums FCC deal for buying Time Warner runs out and they put data caps in place, I'll probably have to pay for TV to get the free unlimited Internet. At that point, I'll have "Cable TV", but I won't get any cable boxes for it.

        • Right. I'm paying $85 for 100/10 internet from Comcast. They'll sell me internet plus television service for $90/month for the first year and $110/month the second year.

          Except it's a lie. Their television service has a $5 broadcast television fee (from Comcast, not the government), a $3 sports fee (again from Comcast, not the government), and $20-$25 for the DVR + HD receiver monthly rental. So they're pretending I would pay $90 per month the first year and $110 the second, but it's actually at least
      • This!

        I am literally getting cable and hbo for $10 a month and I'm the lowest tier internet at 25mb/s now.

        I used to pay $140 a month.. and they kept moving the price up. At $190/month I said to heck with that. now I pay $68 a month.

        Another factor... my wireless is now down to $65 for 16gb with an 8gb hot spot. Plus ubiquitous free wifi at merchants in my area.

        If that goes up to $65 for 32gb and 16gb hot spot, I will consider completely cutting cable.

        But I really don't like paying over about 5 hours minimu

        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          Another factor... my wireless is now down to $65 for 16gb with an 8gb hot spot. Plus ubiquitous free wifi at merchants in my area.

          Then watch you spend most of that 8 GB per month keeping your PCs' Windows operating system up to date now that Microsoft plans to automatically download security updates even over metered connections.

      • they told me (politely) not to let the door hit ya where the dog shoulda bit ya. Still $50 bucks cheaper for Internet only.
  • by whoozwah ( 4223029 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @02:09PM (#54089837)
    The conglomos want to get you into thinking that by bundling you're saving money when you're not. until they get to a point where your entire monthly bill including internet is cheaper than just getting internet itself they still playing the con game.
    • Comcast wanted to offer me 265 TV channels including HBO for 4 cents more than I was paying for 200Mbit Internet alone. I simply don't watch TV, so I don't need it.

      • They actually gave in and offered it to me for $10/month less than internet alone. "Where can we ship your DVR?" "umm don't even bother".

        Happy to see the back of them entirely.

        • I simply don't want the instability of future rate changes--granted that can happen anyway, but it's typical for the long-term, non-promotional price to be higher for a bundle than an individual element. They might give me TV for free for 12 months, then what? I don't check my bill and I pay $30 extra one month, and I don't even watch TV!
    • The conglomos want to get you into thinking that by bundling you're saving money when you're not.

      For what definition of "save"?

      For Comcast in my area, I can get Internet alone, 25MBps, for $30/month for the first 12 months, $60/month after that. I can get "140+ channels" of TV for $50/month for 12 months, $55-$75/month after that "depending on area".

      I can get a bundle with both for $80/month for 12 months, $100/month after.

      If I bought them separately I'd pay the same $80/month for the first 12 months, but then the rates jump to $115-$135/month, which is $15-$35 MORE than the bundled rate. So, while

    • until they get to a point where your entire monthly bill including internet is cheaper than just getting internet itself [...]

      Some of them actually do that. Or did. Not sure if they still do.

      I was on the phone with Suddenlink a few years back to reduce my subscription from their then-top Internet plan (no bundle) to a mid-tier plan (still no bundle) so I could save some money. The lady mentioned that I could "save $7 by bundling TV", which I understood to be the typical con game you're talking about. I said no, but she pushed back and insisted I'd save $7/mo. by bundling. I explained that I'd actually be paying more and that any a

  • Currently, Time-Spectrum-Warner has my internet, TV, and landline. Even if I cut the TV, they'd still get plenty of money from me, and the potential replacements for TV are all dependent on internet, and TSW isn't any worse on that than the competition.

    • Same here. HOA pays for my TV [1], Internet comes out of my pocket, so to me, it is the same cost. Even though I watch YouTube far more than TV, it is the same cost for me in the end. Although Spectrum's app for watching TV on a mobile device is a nice freebie.

      [1]: Technically, I pay the HOA, and they pay for the TV...

  • Misleading (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @02:26PM (#54089985)

    The networks should take scant comfort from this. Yes, people may be keeping the subscriptions because of bundling, but how many are actually watching? I have a bunch of channels bundled with FIOS, but I would estimate 95% of my watching is streaming, with the balance being the occasional sports event.

    • If I had points I'd have modded the anonymous coward up. I'm also wondering, are you forced to watch commercials with cable or paid for streaming services? If so, that would make the need for actual viewers more acute, assuming advertisers are actually paying attention.

      • I don't know about the AC, but my streaming is Netflix and Hulu (ad-free). I still watch regular TV, but much less than I used to, and streaming isn't that far from being GoodEnough (tm). And even with regular TV, I FF past most of the ads.

        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          And even with regular TV, I FF past most of the ads.

          Using the DVR rented from the cable company, a $750* TiVo DVR, or something else? If the last, which?

          * $200 for the hardware and $550 for the required program guide subscription.

    • Those digital cable boxes send your channel information back to the provider. They don't know if you are actually watching, but they do know what you're tuned to. HDMI might allow the box to know if the TV is on. The ISP service knows where your packets are going to and coming from (eg Netflix). In any case, your provider has a very good idea of what their customers are watching.
      Using "subscriber numbers" to describe the market is inaccurate and possibly deceitful.

  • by nehumanuscrede ( 624750 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @02:29PM (#54090011)

    You can't GET the higher speed internet tiers unless you also subscribe to either cable or voice.

    You can get the basic tier, but nothing useful unless you're grandfathered in.

    I kicked around upgrading to 100mb service and decided against it after doing the math on how much I would have to spend monthly on cable and hardware fees.

    Yes it's Comcast / Xfinity. No there isn't an alternative.

    • Re:In some areas (Score:5, Informative)

      by grahamsz ( 150076 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @02:38PM (#54090081) Homepage Journal

      It's startling how differentiated their offers are when there's real competition in the market. My town has muni fiber so comcast offer 250Mbit service (which is pretty much 300Mbit because of how undersubscribed their network is) for $50/mo with no need to buy any other service.

      • Yup, they've got my town's balls in a vice. Sure, there's NTC (exclusive to some apartments, those poor schmucks) and Verizon (if 7Mb/768k is your idea of high speed internet), but otherwise it's Comcast or nothing. So it's $90 for 75Mb service, and $89 for 75Mb service plus basic cable. Add $10 to kick in ESPN and the other mid-tier channels that DTV charges $35 for and Sling charges $20. When they own the last mile, you're going to pay.

    • In my area I have 1Gbps comcast with no bundling. Just a flat $125 a month.

  • The problem with 'cord cutting' is that it's not one streaming service, but many.

    After you get Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, CBS all access, Playstation, HBO GO, Sling, you are paying way over $100/month.

    It's not easy to compare them either.

    • by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @02:39PM (#54090089)
      I think most 'cord cutters' go with one of them to say they did, and then pirate the rest.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      After you get Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, CBS all access, Playstation, HBO GO, Sling, you are paying way over $100/month.

      Most people don't want or need to subscribe to every freaking streaming service out there.

      You must work for the cable company.

    • why would you need all of them since it's double content. I only get HBO during Games of Thrones season and then watch a few other shows i missed during the year

      • why would you need all of them since it's double content.

        They're not always "double content", as you claim, as many series are exclusive to one service. A recent article by Mark Hill [cracked.com] used the following example:

        I'm going to name eight television shows. They're all popular, critically acclaimed, or hotly anticipated, and I'd like you to guess what makes this group unique. [...]

        Game Of Thrones, The Handmaid's Tale, BoJack Horseman, The Man In The High Castle, Twin Peaks (the revival), American Gods, Star Trek: Discovery, and My Brother, My Brother And Me.

        [Answer:] e

    • You don't need all of that to cut the cord.

      We use netflix, Amazon (we would have prime anyways), CBS all access (only when the shows we watch are on), and HBO GO (only when the shows we watch are on), and CW (free with ads).

      $12 for netflix * 12
      $10 for CBS * 6 for partial year
      HBO $15 * 6 for partial year
      Amazon (only a few shows that we like at $30-40 a season) Let's call this $40*4

      That is $38 a month for TV service. and $125 for my 1gbps internet.

      Comcast bundle according to https://www.xfinity.com/learn/... [xfinity.com]

      • It's also an unfair comparison because even with Comcast's top DVR service you can't access everything. It's not like the buyer gets access to all television shows and movies ever made for just $50 per month paid to Comcast. A lot of the content I want isn't available on Comcast, or costs extra on Comcast/Xfinity On Demand, or requires an upgraded channel package that raises the monthly cost another $20.

        So to use your example, say the four shows you bought from Amazon aren't available on Comcast for f
    • How many do you need? I currently have Netflix and Hulu, which are just over $20. They could replace much of what I watch, and in a financial crunch, I might just do without the rest.

    • So some $20 bucks between Hulu/Netflix covers 95% of my needs. Hulu has most of the major networks content. Netflix has been making some great original content you can't get with cable anyways.

      CBS is the most annoying obstacle, and they can go fuck themselves. They would get my money if they'd partner with Hulu like everyone else. Hell, if CBS would just make a free Roku app that displayed ads like the OTA channel, that would be fine. But no, I'll never pay for just one channel that broadcasts their me

    • I only subscribe to Hulu, CBS All Access, Britbox, and Warner Archive. Less than $40/per month total. With those, and the 22 channels I get over the air, I have more than I actually have time to watch!
  • by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @02:40PM (#54090103)
    Cable providers can't really be that concerned about cord cutting either, or they would be doing something meaningful like dropping prices 30% rather than just trying to hook people into the next scam designed to look like they're going something but ultimately costing them nothing.
    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      Cable providers can't really be that concerned about cord cutting either, or they would be doing something meaningful like dropping prices 30%

      They aren't concerned about the cord cutting, they're concerned about the loss of profits, so lowering prices is going to be the last choice they make. First they're try every option to raise revenue from their subscribers they have.

  • by shdowhawk ( 940841 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @02:40PM (#54090107)

    I just moved across the USA in the last year. In both places I lived, it was actually CHEAPER to buy mid-ranged (20-30 megabit) internet WITH basic cable than it would be to get just internet. In both cases it was 5 dollars cheaper a month as part of a "new signup bundle offer". After 12 months it becomes $15 more expensive to have both, BUT, I was told that I could cancel my television services at that time (and still pay $5 more a month than with the bundle costs).

    My assumption is that they are trying to make the cable numbers look better. Note that they didn't show how much TV is actually being watched, only that people are still getting cable services

    My second assumption is that they understand the power of laziness and/or non-confrontation. How much work/effort is needed to be on the phone for an hour (or more?) to cancel a service like tv channels while they try to force upsell you new services. I bet they know they can get some percentage of the population to pay the extra money for services they aren't using just to avoid dealing with the cable companies.

    • by MrNJ ( 955045 )
      It only looks cheaper until you factor in the cost of the cable box + pvr plus whatever tv-specific fees they charge.
    • Yup, one month a year I have to turn off my cableTV and pay rack rate so that I qualify for another year of service. Seems like a pretty stupid game, but it's all I've got.

  • by gatfirls ( 1315141 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @02:51PM (#54090193)

    They just raised the internet prices to cover the basic channels and bundle it so the don't lose the presence on the TV.

  • Try an Antenna (Score:5, Informative)

    by WheezyJoe ( 1168567 ) <feggNO@SPAMexcite.com> on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @02:53PM (#54090213)

    If you live in an area that offers decent over-the-air coverage, you owe it to yourself to at least try and see what you can get with an antenna. The FCC offers an online tool [fcc.gov] to determine what stations are near you by zip code, No Cable [nocable.org] offers similar, and ChannelMaster [channelmaster.com] discusses available antennas, signal-strength, and other useful stuff. We're talking full HD TV of the major networks, and probably a few TNT-like channels, all for free like your grandparents remember it when they were growing up, and all it takes is an investment in time and an antenna you can pick up at Radio Shack or Best Buy.

    Seriously, it's great. I'm watching the game in full non-compressed HD and not dropping a damn dime for it, thanks to a 14-inch square of plastic I put in the attic.

    And the best part, if you already have coax installed throughout your place for delivering Cable, you can re-purpose that same coax to deliver signal from your antenna to every room outlet. Even with a little antenna, coax is so good, even with splitters, the signal from the antenna can deliver HD to all your TV's. The secret is to use as much coax as necessary to place the antenna in a spot in your home where you get best reception, like your attic if you have one, or outside a window. I ran coax from a cable outlet in an unused bedroom into a closet and up through the ceiling into the attic. That connection lit up the remainder of the coax network, via a 1-5 splitter, so that every remaining outlet now supports over 30 channels. Who the hell needs Cable?

    Now truly, it all depends on where you live. YMMV. But if you're in an area with good coverage, paying for cable TV is probably losing you money, with or without promotional triple-play deals (there's all those added fees for taxes and cable-box rentals). With an antenna, Internet, and maybe a subscription to Netflix or Sling, most people would have all they need. You got a perfectly good tuner in your TV, so use it.

    • by walterbyrd ( 182728 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @03:01PM (#54090293)

      I use an antenna, and also add Rokus, and have Plex on my FreeBSD desktop.

      During "Game of Thrones" I sign up for HBO Go - it costs $15 a month.

      I also sign up for netflix off and on, and may go with Amazon Prime, since I buy stuff from Amazon anyway.

      Works great, I am not missing anything.

    • Re:Try an Antenna (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SpiceWare ( 3438 ) on Wednesday March 22, 2017 @04:35PM (#54091029) Homepage
      Very true, due to the proliferation of subchannels [wikipedia.org] I'm pick up 129 channels [atariage.com] here in the suburbs of Houston. My folks are a bit further south in Lake Jackson and pick up 105 [atariage.com] of them - basically there's a few low power station's I can receive that don't reach them.
      • I don't know about Houston, but in Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, the subchannels are all so compressed and blocky, watching them will make your eyes feel like they're going to bleed. And most of them are religious channels, Spanish channels, or shopping/infomercial channels. As of a few days ago, we only have EIGHT English-language OTA HD channels... and *maybe* 5-8 unwatchably-pixelated subchannels that aren't religious, Spanish, or home shopping.

        • by SpiceWare ( 3438 )

          Yeah, there's a lot channels in Spanish, others in Vietnamese, Chinese, Farsi, etc. as well as the religious channels (those are super pixelated - they appear to be more worried about quantity rather than quality).

          Out of the 129 channels there's probably about 20 of them I regularly watch(rather like getting hundreds of channels via DirecTV, but only regularly watching a few dozen - of course, I'm no longer paying for the channels I don't watch!). The High Def channels (ABC, NBC, PBS, KUBE [kube57.com], ION [iontelevision.com], etc) all

          • The OTA channels generally look better than they did on DirecTV, except when there's lightning. I'm pretty sure our local CW, Fox, and ABC affiliates are broadcasting GOPs that are *way* longer than 15 frames (IBBPBBPBBPBBPBB), because noise bursts (like nearby lightning) seem to derail them and make the picture & audio fall apart for at *least* a second or two.

            What ATSC *should* do is keep the same 8vsb transport layer, but allow broadcasters to use their 19.2mbps link budget to send a primary MPEG-2 s

            • by SpiceWare ( 3438 )
              I know the ATSC spec was updated to include support for h.264 back in 2008, and that they are working on the 3.0 update which will include h.265. I believe Airbox [airbox.com] is using h.264 to transmit premium channels like Starz and Showtime over the air.
    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      Seriously, [ATSC broadcast is] great. I'm watching the game in full non-compressed HD

      It's 19 Mbps: higher bandwidth than many cable TV providers but still compressed with MPEG-2 video and Dolby Digital audio. You'd have a lot fewer channels if it were actually "non-compressed".

      • by seinman ( 463076 )
        The OP probably means "recompressed." The OTA feeds are 19 Mbps, but when they are redistributed on cable or satellite systems, the provider usually compresses them further, down to under 8 Mbps in some cases (Comcast). Some also convert 1080i and 1080p feeds to 720p.
    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      http://www.tvfool.com/ [tvfool.com] is very good too. I wished my rural area could get the local channels, but no they get blocked by a stupid small mountain/giant hill, trees, etc. :(

  • In checking my neighborhood forums, it seems like there are a lot of people cutting the comcast cord. I'm getting gig up and down for $48 a month but I personally am not much of a TV watcher. I have, mainly because the wife was watching and I wanted to share but now that I'm single, I haven't watched TV in 5 years. Not even as background noise.

    I am starting to get advertising from some fiber based TV service out of Denver which would increase the price beyond what I was paying for comcast but again, I don't

  • Verizon also made me an offer I couldn't refuse - a triple play at the double play price. The installation tech said that he had to activate the box, but that I didn't have to use it.

    So he powered up the box, activated it, and then stuck it on a shelf in my basement.

    I guess Verizon was hoping I would rent a movie from them instead of Amazon.

  • Dear NBC/CBS/Fox/ABC et al - we aren't channel surfing on a Friday night, although we do watch some of your shows....via your apps on our AppleTV rather than using, say, a DVR (which we don't have). Comcast makes us buy TV service in order to have the higher speed internet (in my area that is speeds higher than 15mb/s)

    So yes - we pay for it. But only to get to 50mb/s service (although that was recently upgraded to 100mb/s a few months ago).

    I purchased the cheapest bundle to get high speed as both my wif

  • From the Looking back [atariage.com] entry of my DVR Project [atariage.com] blog series.

    savings would be what I used to pay DirecTV ($146 a month) less purchasing shows à la cart - buying seasons via Amazon, iTunes, and physical media (Blu-ray & DVD sets).
    ...
    I ended up saving $4575 over the past three years, for an average savings of $1525 per year!

    YMMV

  • Because the cable cartels have ensured via their pwnd representatives consumers have no choices. Cord cutting requires internet access of some type. It's the same company that offer phone/cable/internet. I tried to switch off the horrible comcast - I live in Seattle and my only other choice is a Frontier DLS with 3mb bandwidth.... really? someone in the US actually sells 3MB bandwidth? GAH!
    Meanwhile in Australia, they're rolling out 1GB over LTE! Really! http://www.itwire.com/mobility... [itwire.com]
    The Country
    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      Meanwhile in Australia, they're rolling out 1GB over LTE!

      From the linked page: "Gigabit LTE will chew up that $100 in under 10 seconds."

  • So they surveyed about 2,000 people. Out of the 22 million current customers. I think that falls into the "statistically insignificant" range of data samples.

  • I called to get set up with Comcast and they quoted me outrageous rates for basic internet, which were nearly the same as if I bundled other crap on top of it. I said, I want the rate I see here on your website, just the basic service. The person on the phone refused to admit the rate existed, then acknowledged that it did but said that she wasn't allowed to offer it over the phone. I said, give me the plan or it's false advertising.

    For $40/month, gods be with me, I got an internet connection so fast it m

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