News

Comcast raises prices due to 'growing costs'

Written by Jim Hook/Chambersburg Public Opinion | Dec 22, 2016 12:04 PM
comcast_truck.jpg

FILE PHOTO: Comcast trucks are parked in a lot in the company's Westford, Mass. operations center. (Associated Press)

(Chambersburg) -- Comcast is raising prices for customers in south-central Pennsylvania, including the Chambersburg area.

Pricing increases effective Dec. 20 range from about two to six percent depending on the service. The increases will average 3.8 percent across Comcast's U.S. territory, according to TVPredictions.com.

"As programmers charge more to carry their networks, our cost of doing business increases," Regional Senior Vice President Christine Whitaker said in the letter to customers in Carlisle, Chambersburg, Elizabethtown and Lancaster.

Locally, the monthly broadcast TV fee is increasing from $5 to $7. The fee covers the cost of carrying local network affiliates. The regional sports fee also is increasing from $3 a month to $5 a month. It recovers part of the cost paid to regional sports networks to air their content.

Comcast began charging the fees a few years ago. A customer will pay an additional $48 a year through the combined fees.

Eight Comcast customers from New Jersey to California have claimed the fees are "illegal and deceptive" and in October sued Comcast in U.S. District Court of Northern California. The fees earn Comcast more than $1 billion each year and account for about 15 percent of the company's annual profits, the lawsuit claims.

The fees are in addition to a customer's flat monthly rate.

The customer's rate package lists other price hikes of $5 each for Internet Plus, Internet Plus Latino, Internet Pro Plus with HBO, Blast!, XFINITY Internet Performance and other services. The cost of the "digital adapter additional outlet service" increases from $3.99 to $5.99.

Some prices dropped. The cost of the Playboy Channel fell from $21.95 to $15 a month and in line with the price of HBO. The Internet Gigabit Pro Upgrade declined $5.

The cost for in-home service visits have been "simplified," according to the letter. For $79.99 a customer receives professional installation, activation, relocation of more outlets and in-home service charges. Other in-home service visits are $40 each.

The cost for Basic Cable services is $21.99 a month, according to the letter. More channels can be added through Expanded Basic for an additional $47.96 a month.

Comcast customers in New Jersey received a similar letter.

Comcast will soon offer access to Netflix content on XFINITY X1. X1 also has a voice remote.

"We can't wait for you to see what 2017 has in store for the future of awesome," Whitaker said in the letter.

This article is part of a content-sharing partnership between WITF and Public Opinion Online.

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