Yup, You’re Paying More on Your Comcast Bill This Year
The telecom giant has raised a series of fees for 2019. Here's how much more you'll have to fork over.
Comcast is ringing in the new year with higher cable bills for its customers yet again. Though the news is always unwelcome, it’s now a New Year’s tradition.
That’s because of controversial broadcast TV and regional sports network fees that go up each year. Overall, the average customer will see a 3.3 percent increase on their bill this year, compared to last year’s overall 2.4 percent increase. In the Philadelphia region, the broadcast fee will increase by .75 cents and the regional sports fee by $1.25. Effective January 1, customers in the region began to pay $8.25 for each fee for a total of $16.50 in fees each month.
This difference is significant considering that customers paid $7 for the broadcast TV fee and $5 for regional sports in 2017, according to our report. When Comcast first instituted the broadcast TV fee in 2014, it charged customers $1.50 per month. The company introduced the regional sports fee in 2015 and charged customers just $1 a month.
And for all you cord cutters who rely on Comcast for just internet, you’re unfortunately not escaping rising fees increases either. If you’re renting a modem from Comcast for broadband connection, the equipment rental fee has now increased by $2 per month for a total of $13 a month. With this rate hike, you’ll spend $156 total on your Comcast modem lease this year.
Comcast has consistently insisted that the fees are necessary to keep up with the rising costs of carrying certain TV networks and sports channels.
“While we try to hold costs down, price changes are necessary for a number of reasons, including the continually increasing costs associated with carrying the programming our customers demand, especially broadcast television and sports programming, which are the largest drivers of price increases,” Comcast said in a statement to Philly Mag.
The company also said the higher fees help it to “make investments in our network and technology to give customers more for their money – like faster Internet service and better WiFi, more video across viewing screens, better technology like X1 and xFi, and a better customer experience.”
The rising costs have become controversial since Comcast doesn’t include them in advertised service prices, according to the IT publication Ars Technica. Customers under contract and those paying promotional rates are all subject to the fee increases. The practice has resulted in various class action lawsuits that allege misleading advertising and a lack of transparency on fees.
Last year, in a settlement, Comcast agreed to pay $700,000 in refunds “and cancel debts for more than 20,000 Massachusetts customers,” over claims of deceptive advertising.
But as Comcast hikes its fees up, its competitors inside and outside of the cable industry do too. Charter Communications, AT&T’s DirecTV, Dish and YouTube TV are all reporting price increases.
To see Comcast’s monthly bill explainer, click here.