Cable, Satellite Rates to Rise in 2018

Dish, Comcast, DirecTV and Cox plan fee hikes next year
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Rate hikes are in store for many cable and satellite TV service customers in 2018, with some providers planning rate hikes as high as 15% for some packages.

Dish Network, Comcast, DirecTV and Cox Communications have all made known their plans for increases in the coming year, with others sure to follow. For the most part, the rate increases are small and vary between packages, with most increases in the $1 to $5 per month range.

Charter Communications, according to DSL Reports, is raising its broadcast TV fee from $7.50 to $8.85 per month, and in its Lexington. Ky., market is increaseing fees for several packages, including its Good Play Triple Premium (from $129 to $139 per month); its Best Triple Play Plus will go from $169 to $179 per month.

Dish Network was the latest pay TV provider to announce increases, planning to raise rates by $3 (15%) for its Welcome Pack from $19.99 to $22.99, while its most popular tier – Americas Top 120 – rises $5 from $69.99 per month to $74.99 per month according to website TVAnswerman.com.

At Comcast, rates are generally rising about $5 per month for its bundled packages, including its X1 Starter Triple Play package (from $150 to $155 per month) and its X1 Premier Quad Play package (from $249.95 to $254.95).

DirecTV earlier this month announced plansto increase rates for several packages, including, with monthly increases ranging from $2 for its Select Choice package to $8 for its Ultimate Premier package. Its basic Family package will remain at the same price.

At Cox, price increases range from $1 per month for its skinny bundle Flex Watch package (from $40 to $41) to $5 per month for its Contour TV (from $79.99 to $84.99) and Contour TV Ultimate (from $161.99 to $166.99) packages., according to DSL Reports. Cox spokesman Todd Smith said in an e-mail message that although prices vary by market, the figures were “directionally accurate.”

“The rising cost of programming content continues to be the main reason why our video prices increase,” Smith said in an e-mail statement. “Cox also continually adds new features and functions to services, enhancing the value for customers. For example, via the new Contour video services we’ve added voice remote, better search and TV Everywhere capabilities. We’ve consistently increased internet speeds more than 1000 percent over the last 17 years and we’re investing an unprecedented $10 billion in our infrastructure in the next five years. Part of that investment includes the nationwide deployment of DOCSIS 3.1, which builds on the strength of Cox’s fiber-based network and gives us the ability to roll out gigabit internet speeds throughout more neighborhoods at a faster pace.” 

Altice USA said in October that it would raise prices at its Optimum unit in the New York metro area during the November billing cycle, in some instances by as much as $6 per month.

“We are committed to providing our customers with high-quality video services at a great value, and the adjustments we made to certain video pricing reflect the rising cost of programming, particularly fees charged by sports networks and broadcasters as we continue to experience demands, in many cases, for double their current fees to carry the exact same programming,” Altice USA said in a statement. “To that point, it's worth noting that adjustments on our pricing reflect just a fraction of the rising cost of programming.

“We continue to invest in our network and services to provide the best customer experience possible: among other things, we’ve increased broadband speeds, launched Altice One our new entertainment experience, and are deploying our fiber-to-the-home network that will enable even more innovative products to support our customers’ needs well into the future,” Altice USA continued.

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