Dennis D. McDonald ( consults from Alexandria Virginia. His services include writing & research, proposal development, and project management.

No A La Carte Cable Ordering

By Dennis D. McDonald

I pay more than $90 per month for cable service. I have a gazillion channels, including multiple HBO, and I have three digital set top boxes. One of the side benefit is the constantly-streaming digital music channels, which I use a lot.

Today I was running through the channels and noticed that a music channel I don't get currently is "Latin Jazz," which is one of my favorite categories. (I have a thing about Chucho Valdez.)

I called the cable service (Comcast). When prompted by phone, I pressed "upgrade service," which I figured would get me through faster than pressing "customer service."

I was right. A human came on the line immediately.

"What would it cost me to add channel 454, Latin Jazz, to my service package?" I asked.

The person on the other end excused herself and put me on hold. About two minutes later she came back.

"That channel is part of our special Latin Package," she said. "To get that channel will cost you another ten dollars per month."

I told her, "but I know you offer individual programs on an on-demand basis. Can't you allow subscribers to get one extra channel?"

"I'm sorry sir," she responded, "You can only get that channel as a package."

I told her, "I'd be happy to trade half of the channels I get now that I don't use."

She laughed and said, "I'm sorry, we just don't work that way."

Bottom line: I'm not getting the Latin Jazz music channel, and Comcast is not getting any more money from me per month. I guess I'll just continue hooking my stereo system to my computer with iTunes accessing "Radio" and the multiple Latin channels that stream there for free.

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