As of this weekend, Verizon Fios customers can make their own cable bundle. Isn’t that everything you’ve always dreamed of? It’s called Custom TV and a base package is about $55 and doesn’t include Internet. For an extra ten dollars you get decent Internet, base channels, and two add-on packs.
They call the no-Internet package “standalone,” but that’s not really true. A standalone service is about accessing content solely through the Internet. Isn’t that the whole deal with HBO Now? All you need is the web to watch “Girls.” The $55 package is just, basic, basic cable. There’s no sports included in any of the packs.
But good luck trying to figure out if it’s something you could buy. Don’t even try to browse pricing and channel selections, it’s like entering the fifth circle of hell just seeing if it’s available in your market. I currently pay Verizon for my Internet and cable, and even I could barely validate my address to see what’s up. My house doesn’t exist in their database.
The Washington Post reported that Verizon FiOs President Tami Erwin told CNBC in an interview on Friday that they think this move will attract young consumers. She said:
Customers want choice and increasingly customers have choice on video, and we’ve said very clearly we expect to be the preeminent broadband provider in the market, but we want to give customers choice on how they acquire and how they buy video. I think about millennials and how millennials are viewing video today for example.
To get a customized bundle that’s worth anything, it will still cost about $100 a month, possibly more if you want premium channels and the ability to load two web pages at the same time. And cord cutters want ease and convenience. There is still a pretty infuriating lack of free will involved with signing your soul away to companies like Verizon, who want to verify your zip code sixteen times before it lets you see price points. It’s notable that they’re trying to change their ways and get in on the HBO Now and Sling TV game. But cable packages like this are certainly three steps back from where economic, easy television watching needs to be. Too little, too late.