Comcast Rate Hikes Starting January 1

Monthly bills will be more expensive in a number of different areas.

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Comcast customers can expect their bills to go up at the start of the new year. A new rate card obtained by BizPhilly shows that the company plans on raising rates in a number of areas on January 1, 2016.

Here’s a rundown:

  • Some Double Play packages are going up between $3 and $4 per month, increases of 4.6 percent to 5.2 percent. Other Double Play packages are seeing smaller rate hikes.
  • Many Triple Play packages and XFinity Latino packages are increasing $1.50 per month.
  • Some Internet services will rise between $3 and $4 per month.
  • The broadcast TV fee is going from $3 per month to $5.
  • Prices for the digital adapter (cable boxes used in additional rooms) rises from $2.99 to $3.99.
  • “Limited basic” TV service for Comcast’s Area 2 which encompasses “Northeast and Northwest Philadelphia and Delaware County (excluding Marple and Haverford Twps)” is going from $12.80 to $13.95 per month. That’s an increase of nearly 9 percent. Still, prices for “expanded basic” TV service dropped in all four coverage areas listed.
  • In an apparent effort to compete with online streaming services, Comcast is dropping the price of its premium channels. Currently, they all cost $21.95. HBO is dropping to $15. Showtime, Starz, Cinemax, The Movie Channel and Playboy will be $12.

The rates were disclosed in a Nov. 13 letter from Sharon Powell, senior director of government and regulatory affairs at Comcast to Raymond Hayling, deputy chief information officer for the City of Philadelphia. Copied on the letter were Kathleen Sullivan, vice president of government and regulatory affairs at Comcast; Mark McLaughlin, CATV manager of the City of Philadelphia; the Mayor of Philadelphia; and City Council Members. (It didn’t specify which council members.)

A Comcast spokesperson said the rate hikes are a response to the increase in technological advancements offered to customers.

We continue to make investments in our network and technology to give customers more for their money – like faster Internet service and more WiFi hotspots, more video across viewing screens, better technology like X1 and a better customer experience,” the spokesperson said. “Unfortunately, the cost to deliver programming continues to increase significantly — especially broadcast television and sports programming — which are the largest drivers of increases in price adjustments.  On average, nationally the customer bill will increase by 3.9 percent in 2016.”

Many rates remain unchanged from a year ago. (See the rate card below for more information)

The new rates come as Comcast is negotiating a 15-year franchise agreement with City Hall and the company faces customer pushback on what they say are high cable bills.

Hannah Sassaman, policy director of the non-profit Media Mobilizing Project, said that Philly is the third-worst big city for broadband access and said that Comcast increasing rates “adds insult to injury at a time when everyday people are struggling to pay their so many of their bills, and to keep connected to work, school, healthcare and resources for themselves and their families.”

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