Q, I heard that Charter is raising its prices again. Is that possible? It seems like it was just last month when my prices went up. — Tom, Chincoteague, Virginia.
Tom, I’m afraid you heard right. Charter Spectrum is raising monthly prices again on select programming packages and the dreaded ‘broadcast TV’ fee, according to multiple news reports.
The cable operator says most subscribers will see the higher prices in next month’s bills. The broadcast TV fee will jump from $13.50 to $16.45 while the Gold, Select and Silver video plans will rise by $1.50 a month.
Charter last implemented across-the-board price hikes last October in most markets. But for consumers still struggling thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic, this latest increase might sting more than usual.
The cable operator, as usual, blames the rising cost of acquiring programming, and there’s no doubt that programmers are increasing their carriage fees. But Charter, like most pay TV operators, continues to lose customers with rising prices cited by defecting subscribers as the primary reason
In a statement released to NPR, Charter suggested it might offer rebates for the loss of live sports during the pandemic shutdown to offset the higher prices. However, the cable operator offers no specifics such as dates or amounts.
“Programmers annually raise programming fees to deliver the same content, leading to higher costs across the entire industry. The increase we are passing through to viewers is a direct result of these rising programming costs. Similarly, we will pass through any rebates we receive from the loss of live sports during COVID-19,” the company said.
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— Phillip Swann