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Some Ohio State students opting out of cable, favor Internet-only plan


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Students who live off-campus get plenty of appeals from cable, phone and Internet providers looking for business. Some students at Ohio State, however, are looking past the “triple-play” model.

Matthew Harper, a residential sales manager for Ohio with WOW!, an Internet, cable and phone provider that serves Columbus, said customers are increasingly selecting the company’s Internet-only plan, but the vast majority are still bundling Internet with cable or phone.

“In the college demographic, or with those that are a little bit more tech-savvy … the Internet-only package intake rates are higher … because they’re more familiar with the applications that correlate with video streaming like Netflix or Hulu,” Harper said.

Harper declined to disclose statistics.

A spokesman for Time Warner Cable, Mike Pedelty, also declined in an email to share statistics, though he said TWC offers “more (bundle) choices than other providers” and is expanding its cable features to attract more customers.

David Edwards, a second-year in business and finance, said he uses cable TV and Netflix in his dorm, but he plans to just have Internet when he moves off-campus next year.

“I can’t justify the charge (for cable),” Edwards said. “It’s not worth it. If they offered a sports-only package, it would be great.”

Warren Welsh, a first-year in chemical engineering, is currently considering signing up for one of Time Warner’s cable and Internet bundles for his house or apartment next year because the packages’ prices are “hard to turn down.” Welsh said, though, he plans to have Netflix as well.

Holly Hollingsworth, a spokeswoman for AT&T Ohio, said in an email there were no local statistics she could share. Nationally, Hollingsworth said AT&T has 5.5 million TV customers, 3.8 million home phone customers and 10.4 million Internet customers. She also said 90 percent of the TV customers subscribe to the AT&T Internet service.

WOW!’s cheapest Internet plan in Columbus is $30 for 15 megabits per second download speeds. Time Warner’s same plan is about $35, and both providers have price increases after the first year. AT&T’s basic plan is $29.95 for 3 megabits per second for the first year, but with a limit of 150 GB per month and an additional fee for surpassing the limit.

Netflix recommends an Internet download speed of 1.5 megabits per second, but for HD quality, users are recommended to have a 5 megabits per second connection, according to Netflix’s website.

One subscriber to AT&T U-verse Internet and cable, Oliver Mason, a third-year in computer science and engineering, said packaging both makes it easier to manage. His roommates, however, also share a Netflix account.

Harper said WOW! is monitoring trends closely, keeping Internet-only viable by upgrading speeds and offering “very competitive” pricing while still drawing customers into other services with discounted bundle rates.

Mason said he sees a future for cable, though he noted the potency of Internet-only shows.

“With original Netflix shows like ‘House of Cards’ and ‘Orange Is the New Black,’ cable shows need to be on par or satisfy more,” Mason said. “But shows have to take a leap of faith, with production costing so much, when they go through Netflix.”

Welsh didn’t offer a caveat.

“Cable is just something you need,” Welsh said.

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