The metaphorical war between cable companies and the cord-cutting generation is seeing no signs of slowing down, It probably isn't helping when the former decides to keep raising its prices, either. Such is the case with the mega-corporation Comcast, which is once again raising its "Broadcast TV" and "Regional Sports Network" fees just a year after an already sizable price increase. It's causing some customer controversy, as the fees are are affecting contracted subscribers, and they're not the only increases.
In total, Comcast's "Broadcast TV" and "Regional Sports Network" fees are jumping up from $14.50 to $18.25 per month, with some exceptions. For the most part, those hikes are set to take effect on January 1, 2019 across most of the company's regional U.S. markets. Some areas may not actually see the prices raised until later in 2019, according to Ars.
To go back to last year's fees for Comcast's "Broadcast TV" and "Regional Sports Network" distinctions, customers saw the former's cost rise from $6.50 to $8.00, with the sports fee jumping from $4.50 to $6.50. The Broadcast fee will now be $10 a month, while the sports fee will top off at $8.25. The prices didn't exactly double, but that's quite an escalation after just two years.
As well, Comcast is raising the prices for renting its tech equipment, which had also just been raised up a year previous. The company's "Internet/Voice Equipment Rental" cost is now at $13, raised up from $11. Last year, that cost jumped up one dollar, from $10 to $11. Of course, customers can avoid paying the monthly fee by purchasing their own modem.
Note that Comcast's price changes won't be exactly the same in every market. Costs will vary by city as determined by which TV stations are available. So while the $10 and $8.50 prices are where things top off, some markets' customers may not have to pay that much.
Comcast, which was formerly in the hunt to buy out Fox, is coming under fire for these price increases, which aren't a part of the price totals that the company advertises to customers. Those under contracts with Comcast will also have to suffer the rising costs, as well as consumers who signed up with Comcast's promotional deal rates. It seems that no one is safe.
This statement from Comcast doesn't seem to do much to soothe customers' worries, starting off by talking about its unrelated Internet service.
We continue to make investments in our network and technology to give customers more for their money---like faster Internet service and better Wi-Fi, more video across viewing screens, better technology like X1 and xFi, and a better customer experience. While we try to hold costs down, price changes are necessary for a number of reasons, including the continually increasing costs associated with carrying the programming our customers demand, especially broadcast television and sports programming, which are the largest drivers of price increases.
Comcast's price hikes come during a year where the company has faced lawsuits and paid out settlements specifically regarding its allegedly deceptive advertising and its standalone broadcast and sports fees. Just this month, the company agreed to pay out $700,000 to Massachusetts residents who were duped into expensive long-term contracts that negatively affected credit scores. In some cases, the non-disclosed costs raised the bill totals by 40%.
As well, two million California residents are part of a class action lawsuit against Comcast over the so-called hidden fees, which the company claims aren't hidden at all. Comcast has said in the past that it would be more transparent about its price hikes and the reason behind them, but some may find their explanations lacking.
There's a petition out there at Consumer Reports for unhappy customers to fill out in the hopes that cable companies will just announce flat rates to potential subscribers without any hidden fees tacked on. There's also a push to get Comcast investigated for reportedly hurting its cable competition in unlawful ways.