Cablevision: 2.3% Average Rate Hike in ‘06

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Cablevision Systems Corp. announced rate increases for 2006, with the average rate for video service rising about 2.3% ($1.45 per month) across its New York Metropolitan-area footprint while pricing for its “Optimum Online” high-speed-data and “Optimum Voice” voice-over-Internet-protocol telephony services remains stable.

According to a statement, Cablevision said the rate increases will take effect in January or February as part of the normal billing cycle. In some parts of the Hudson Valley region in New York State, the rate increases will not take effect until June.

The hikes reflect rising programming costs, which Cablevision said are up about 12% this year.

This is the third consecutive year that Cablevision has not raised pricing for Optimum Online and Optimum Voice. Cablevision said the 2.3% video-rate increase is below the rate of inflation.

Cablevision spokesman Jim Maiella said rates for its “Family Cable” package -- which includes broadcast basic and more than 50 additional channels, such as ESPN, ABC Family and Discovery Channel -- will rise about 1.3%, or 61 cents per month, in 2006.

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