FCC: Expanded Basic Cable Price Increased 3.4% in 2015

Equipment leasing costs rose, but below inflation level

The FCC reported that prices for expanded basic cable were up 3.4% in 2015 (the most recent figures available) to $71.37 per month, but the percentage increase over 2014 was down from an average annual increase of 4.4% over the previous five years.

The average price of basic service was up 4.4% to $25.40 in 2015 over 2014, the FCC said.

Related: FCC Announces Boost to Regulated Cable Rates

The price for basic service in communities with effective competition was 3.1% lower than in those without it. For expanded basic, the price was actually 4.7% higher in effective competition communities than ones without it. The FCC said that was because the former communities were usually served by larger suites of channels. The per-channel price was 28.8% lower in effective competition communities, for example.

Equipment leasing costs were up 1.2%, year-over-year, but that was compared with a 1.4% increase in general inflation over that time, so subscribers were getting more equipment bang for their bucks.

Related: Cable, Satellite Rates to Rise in 2018

The FCC figures preceded the agency’s decision to presume all communities have effective competition — thanks to satellite services—so that change will not be reflected until the FCC’s next cable pricing report.

Basic cable comprises “local broadcast stations; public, educational, and governmental access channels; and typically, a few additional channels that may be of local, regional, national or international origin.” The FCC defines expanded basic as “the most popular level of service.”