I think the level of "basic" or "lifeline" depends on the area you live in Greater Binghamton. I have family in the Town of Owego(Owego address), and they pay like $7/month, it's dirt cheap. They get channels 2-17. 18-22 are trapped out, yet they get 23(TWS) crystal clear, then 24(SNY) is snowy and that's it. Channels 98/99 are duplicates of My 8 and CW I think it was, and channel 122 is a radar loop. For $7 to get networks and a few channels like TBS, TV Land, TWS, CNN, is pretty good, since you would need an outdoor antenna setup to pull anything in OTA.
I just set them up with a new LCD TV this past weekend, and they got all the local networks via unencrypted QAM. Those remain the only channels "in the clear", along with the digital SD versions of the locals. They were having trouble with the digital phone last fall and had a tech come out and he found they did something wrong outside with the phone filter or something(after it worked fine for 2+ years). He fixed it/ran a new line so they have a nice strong signal for the clear QAM channels.