Users in our Time Warner Cable forum inform us they too are taking part in rate hike season festivities, the cable operator informing users that prices will be going up for many users starting March 1 for both cable TV and broadband services (not to mention set top box rentals).
Time Warner Cable is also starting to charge users a $2.25 “Broadcast TV” fee next month, which as we’ve been discussing is something most cable operators have been doing as a way to sneakily bury retransmission fee hikes from broadcasters in below the line fees.
That allows cable operators to not only sock you twice for content (since such programming hikes generally should be included in the overall cost of business and the existing rate hikes), but it allows them to misleadingly leave advertised rates the same. It also lets them increase prices for users in price-guarantees or under contract.
As with most rate hikes, the notices are accompanied with the insistence that the hikes are about bringing you added “value,” and necessary because of all the great upgrades the companies have been busy with. Except in Time Warner Cable’s case those upgrades have been slow in coming, the company considerably slower than Comcast in deploying faster DOCSIS 3.0 speeds or new TV technologies.
That doesn’t stop the company from blaming these largely non-existent upgrades for higher bills:
We want you to get the most value possible out of your services, which is why we continually introduce new benefits and features like faster Internet, hundreds of thousands of free WiFi hotspots, crystal-clear HD channels and innovative apps that let you watch live TV on virtually any device.
It is also important to us that we keep you informed of any changes to your service. This is why we wanted to make you aware that you will see a change in the cost of your TWC services in your next bill.
This change is being driven by several factors. One is that the rates TV networks and programming providers are charging us to deliver your favorite channels have risen to new heights in the last year. We work our hardest to control these costs on your behalf, but the price of programming is increasing dramatically. Another factor is that the cost to maintain and grow our network has also increased. This investment is critical, however, as it allows us to continue bringing you the innovative features and reliable service you deserve.
Users in our forums note they would jump to competitors like Verizon FiOS, if they weren’t in many areas even more expensive. As for users dodging the new Broadcast TV fee by being acquired by Comcast? It’s not happening, as Comcast started charging the same kind of sneaky fee last fall.