Cable prices increase as national broadcast networks charge more

Cable customers have started to see an increase on their monthly bills.

Knology of Augusta manager Abu Khan said many broadcast networks are charging higher carrier rates for cable companies to offer their channels for no reason.

According to Khan, the only ones benefitting from the price hike are networks like ESPN and NBC Sports Network.

“We adjust pricing each year as minimally as possible to keep our operations up to speed and to ensure our services are at the forefront of industry standards,” he said. “On the other hand, we believe broadcasters’ fees are unfairly high compared to providers’ standard annual rate adjustments. Networks reap millions at the cost of customers.”

Comcast also increased prices. Most of Comcast’s packages, including the ones for basic services, digital cable and ones bundled with Internet, rose between 4 and 6 percent. DirecTV’s rates also rose an average 4 percent.

Andy Macke, Comcast’s government and community affairs vice president, said networks such as ESPN continue to increase their programming costs. Rising gas prices also have contributed to higher operational costs, which is why even the most basic of cable packages – ones that air local broadcast channels only – had a rate increase.

Customers of Comcast’s limited-basic service now pay $28.65 in areas including Atlanta, a 23 percent increase from the year before. Those rates have gone up 165 percent since 2007, when they were at $10.83. For the Augusta area, the limited-basic rate remains $20.45.

“We do try to contain the rates as much as possible,” Macke said.

A call to Atlantic Broadband, which servces Aiken County, was not returned Friday.

“Consumers should understand how big networks make millions of dollars off their pennies, nickels and dimes,” Khan said.

WANT TO COMPLAIN?

Knology has set up reducefeesplease.com as a way for customers to voice opinions about increased rates, encouraging networks to rethink surcharges in future negotiations.

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