Photo (cc) by Consumerist Dot Com
Another year, another fee, at least if you’re a customer of Time Warner Cable.
TWC is increasing its monthly modem lease fee from $5.99 to $8, a 34 percent increase, the Orange County Register reports. It’s also adding a $2.75 fee for its sports channels, regardless of whether you watch them, and increasing its monthly charge for local channels by 50 cents, to $2.75.
According to the Orange County Register, TWC said higher programming costs are to blame for the boost in its channel fees.
“Broadcast and sports programming costs are by far the biggest drivers of higher TV prices,” said spokesman Dennis Johnson. “Our fees paid to local broadcast channels have soared 60 percent the past two years alone and the cost of cable sports networks has increased 91 percent since 2008.”
TWC recently upgraded its customers’ Internet modems for free. Columnist David Lazarus of the Los Angeles Times writes:
In October, the company notified Internet customers that because it was adding more zip to its Los Angeles broadband network, it would provide customers with faster modems.
The company said new average speeds, depending on your service level, would be three to six times faster — at no added cost.
That was then. Those faster modems are now a third more expensive.
Lazarus said TWC’s hefty modem charge will cost nearly $100 a year. Or you could simply purchase your own high-speed modem for a one-time fee of about $130. That sounds like a better alternative.
TWC’s Johnson defended the heftier modem fee. Lazarus wrote:
“Johnson said the fatter modem fee ‘reflects our investment in new modems that support these faster speeds and better Internet experience,’ which basically means that even though the company didn’t charge people for the upgrade at the time, it’s charging them now.”
The new fees won’t impact customers who have locked into promotional package pricing. “The company said around 75 percent of its customers who have TV plans with sports programming will not be affected by sports surcharges because they are in promotional pricing,” the Orange County Register said.
Meanwhile, you will soon be able to get ESPN without a cable subscription, and HBO has also announced a stand-alone streaming service that’s expected to launch before the season premiere of “Game of Thrones.”
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