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People have long flocked to television as an alternative means of entertainment in the face of expensive movie ticket prices. Conventional wisdom would seem to indicate that paying a monthly subscription for consistent, serialized programming would be the most cost effective approach to personal entertainment. However, Comcast customers are in for a rude awakening as the company’s monthly rates rise, yet again.
According to Ars Technica, while rates Comcast rates very according to region across the country, many are expected to rise within the next few weeks. In the Pacific Northwest, for instance, the cost of Comcast cable and internet is set to rise by 4.5 percent, while national rates for Comcast’s overall services are rising by an average of 3.4 percent. These increases are expected to go into effect on October 1. A spokesperson for Comcast in Albuquerque has rationalized these increases on the basis of providing better overall service for their customers.
We continue making investments in our network and technology to give customers more for their money, including more video across platforms, better experiences like X1 and faster Internet service… We periodically need to adjust prices due to increases we incur in programming, business costs and new technology.
While it is most certainly possible to account for the increased cost of programming to attribute to a price increase – thanks Supergirl – that does not necessarily provide explanation for increased internet rates. This increase also comes off as contradictory to a statement made by Comcast CEO Brian Roberts to THR just a few days ago:
You can't keep raising the price forever… these things have a way of correcting and balancing out before something draconian happens.
As it turns out, Roberts was more likely referring to the cable networks Comcast buys its programming from than the rates of his own company. Comcast has already been losing subscribers due to high costs, so we can likely assume that the increase will not go over well with customers. By comparison, streaming services such as Netflix have become considerably cheaper alternatives that offer increased flexibility – as many people already do not come close to watching all 140 channels offered in standard Comcast packages. Even then, consumers have a hard time getting around companies such as Comcast because even if they do not wish to pay for the television service, they still usually pay the company fees for the broadband service required to run them -- an advantage acknowledged by Roberts himself.
As it stand now, Comcast is worth $145 billion, but we will see how long that lasts if customers no longer find themselves willing to pay an arm and a leg to catch the latest episode of The Walking Dead.