If you’re a Comcast subscriber, it’s not the most wonderful time of the year: The cable giant is raising its rates again.
In a move subscribers have seen before – most recently in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 – Comcast’s TV service will see big increases in fine-print fees that it doesn’t advertise, while the large-print rates for its broadband will inch up by a smaller amount.
Comcast didn’t provide specific numbers for the TV fee hikes, but journalist Phillip Swann, who covers the video business at the TV Answer Man site, reported figures for some markets last week.
For example, he linked to a copy of a letter Comcast sent to the Board of Selectmen in Sandown, New Hampshire, that had the broadcast TV fee going from $24.95 to $27.25 a month, with the regional sports fee inching up from $11.85 to $12.
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Some regions hit harder by TV, internet bill inflation
The inflation was much worse in other markets, with Taunton, Massachusetts, subscribers seeing their broadcast TV fee rocket from $18.65 to $26 a month.
Both the broadcast and sports fees reflect higher prices demanded of TV providers by two popular categories of channels: local stations and regional sports networks.
“TV networks and other video programmers continue to raise their prices, with broadcast television and sports being the biggest drivers of increases in customers’ bills,” Comcast spokeswoman Jenni Gatta said in an emailed statement.
Comcast’s broadband rates are also increasing by $3 a month on all speed tiers for internet-only subscribers, although customers who also pay for TV won’t see this bump.
Comcast is also jacking up its cable modem rental fee from $14 to $15, a form of internet inflation you can dodge by buying your own modem.
Why is Comcast raising rates on internet broadband, cable?
Moyer’s statement chalked up the broadband rate hike to the cost of “investing in our broadband network to provide the best, most reliable internet service in the country” but did not explain why this increase didn’t touch subscribers who pay for broadband as well as TV.
Comcast chief financial officer Michael Cavanaugh invited other theories on the company’s latest quarterly earnings call when he said the company would emphasize earning more revenue per broadband subscriber now that it’s not seeing huge increases in customer sign-ups.
Those earnings reported on Oct. 27 showed that Comcast’s broadband growth has stalled out – its residential base of 29.84 million has barely budged since the first quarter of its fiscal year – while video subscribers continue a stampede to the exits that left Comcast with 15.97 million residential TV accounts.
But this Philadelphia firm continues to see high-profit margins that it put at 45.1% after subtracting various expenses.
AT&T, Charter’s Spectrum also raising rates
Other broadband providers have imposed their own rate hikes in recent months.
Consumers put up with rate hikes
A telecom-industry analyst suggested that Comcast would probably get away with rate increases that don’t jump off the bill too obviously.
“Comcast subscribers may gripe about higher bills, but most will tolerate them, chalking up higher prices to overall inflation,” wrote Tammy Parker, a principal analyst at the research firm GlobalData. “It’s important to note that autopay often makes customers oblivious to relatively small price increases.”