Cable TV fees going up

I have been asked by some if Comcast has gone up on their pricing.  A $4 per month figure was thrown at me.  For Connecticut customers, a complete pricing guide / lineup was included with the November 2016 bill.   Bundled pricing, as well as a la carte pricing was listed.  Pricing offered by a special department, the one I have alluded to before, would not be on this menu insert.

However, let’s look at the fees that were set to increase on 12/20/16.   The guide mentioned a $2 increase in the Broadcast TV fee.  What is this fee?  It’s actually not a junk fee.  15 years ago, the cable companies simply carried local broadcast (over the air / antenna) channels with no compensation to the networks (ie. local CBS, local FOX, local ABC, etc).  There were court cases about a decade ago and the result was that local networks have the right to charge cable companies to rebroadcast their channel.   Local networks aren’t simply providing one channel anymore.  They are providing a standard feed, an HD feed, and likely one or two other sub channels.   I know that CPTV, based in Harford, sends out three channels (if not four).  You may not even know about this, but you should check them out.  The Broadcast TV fee represents money that is paid back to the local networks.

For those of you who have Comcast’s standard package — Digital Starter — or higher, you receive regional sports networks.  These networks include NESN ( Red Sox, Bruins), YES (Yankees, Nets),  SNY (Mets, Uconn Women’s Basketball), Comcast Sports Net (Celtics) if you live in central Connecticut.   (Tip:  If you could live without the sports, ESPN included, you could get by with a lesser package from Comcast.).  These channels are not distributed for free.  This may be hard to swallow but Comcast has to pay many of these networks $5 per subscriber per month.  No wonder the cable bill is so high.   Some of the deals with these networks have recently been renegotiated.  The per subscriber fees almost never go down.    This is why Comcast had to increase the Regional Sports programming fee by $2.   It’s a legitimate charge.   In turn, you have the right to switch to another package.

On the flip side of this, I am totally against all the fees the cable companies make on equipment rentals.   I have helped my customers purchase their own cable modems for years, saving them a $10 a month rental.   You still do not have the right to buy your own cable box, but I hope that day comes sooner than later.  

Verizon, Frontier, and Direc TV are not exempt from the fees mentioned in this e-mail.   You would be wise to find out how much you are paying in Broadcast TV and Regional Sports fees each month. 

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