It's that time of year again....
It's once again cable rate hike season for Comcast customers, who'll be seeing higher bills depending on where you live, and depending on what competition Comcast sees in your market. Washington state residents will be the first lucky winners, given that Qwest is the primary phone company and telcoTV is a non-issue. In Washington, Comcast will be issuing a flurry of higher rates starting October 6. The hikes will cover not only TV service (traditionally blamed on higher broadcaster fees), but also assorted other hardware fees.
According to a memo obtained by Broadband Reports, Limited Basic customers will see an average increase of $1.17 per month, while Comcast's entry level digital cable tier will jump $1.70 from $55.75 to $57.45. Comcast's digital additional outlet fee, used for customers with additional modems or set top boxes, will increase $1 from $5.10 to $6.10. Customers who rent modems or eMTAs for digital voice will also see their $3 monthly rental fee bumped to $5.
The memo, which provides talking points to employees when dealing with consumers, rhetorically asks: "does it make sense for us to raise prices given the state of the economy?" The memo responds to its own question with an unequivocal yes, though executives in the memo insist that imposing additional rate hikes during a sour economy was "discussed at the highest levels of the company" (you know, by the guys making nearly $25 million annually
) and "was not taken lightly" by said millionaires.
Comcast reminds employees that DirecTV's basic tier jumped 30% this year, while several FiOS tiers have jumped $10 a month. As is usually the case, Comcast blames the higher costs on the higher costs of programming (specifically sports), but also lays the blame on "new advanced set top boxes and modems" and DOCSIS 3.0 network upgrades. The same upgrades the company in 2007 proudly proclaimed could be funded by "couch change."
Comcast's second quarter earnings jumped 53%, and the carrier posted a three month net income of nearly a billion dollars
On the positive side, the hikes are slightly less than they've been in years past, something recently predicted by at least one analyst, who claimed this year's cable rate hike season would be only 50% as potent
as in recent years due to recession and telcoTV competition. Comcast customers outside of the Washington market upset they're being left out of the festivities will likely soon get hikes of their own. If your provider is raising rates, please drop us a line