Cablevision Hikes Broadband Fees $5 Per Month

MSO Says Price Will Increase Average of 3.2% for Optimum Online Service

Cablevision Systems said it will increase the cost of its broadband service by $5 per month in 2013, which will result in an average increase of 3.2% for Optimum Online customers who are not currently on a promotional rate. 

The Bethpage, N.Y.-based MSO said the price bump is the first increase on its broadband service in a decade, and said it will make no changes to the price of its cable TV or phone products.

The change comes after Verizon Communications -- a key competitor Cablevision's New York-area footprint -- this summer raised the price of FiOS Internet for bundle customers by $10 to $15 per month, while also boosting connectivity speeds.

In announcing the change, Cablevision said it has made “significant” investments in its broadband product, including a $140 million DOCSIS network augmentation project.

Cablevision initiated the latest upgrade after it scored poorly on a 2011 test commissioned by the Federal Communications Commission, which found the operator delivered 54% of advertised speeds during peak periods (7-11 p.m. Monday-Friday). On the FCC’s test based on data from April 2012, Cablevision was found to have delivered 120% of advertised download speeds and more than 100% of upload speeds.

The MSO also touted its deployment of more than 50,000 Wi-Fi hotspots, which offer Optimum Online customers Internet access with speeds up to 15 Mbps for no additional charge. Cablevision customers used Optimum Wi-Fi to connect to the Internet more than 50 million times in November 2012 alone, according to the operator.

“Over the last 10 years, we have made significant investments in our broadband product, recently affirmed by the FCC to deliver in excess of 100% of the speeds we advertise, along with advanced security, no usage caps, local news and information and other key features,” Cablevision senior vice president of broadband product management Gemma Toner said in a statement. 

As of Sept. 30, Cablevision had 3.06 million broadband subscribers, adding a net 28,000 in the quarter.