Cable Companies Issuing Price Hike on Customers

Cable users in Southeast Florida will face higher bills this month after Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) implemented a 5.8 percent increase affecting about 40 percent of its customers. Other cable provides, AT&T U-verse (NYSE:T) and DIRECTV (NASDAQ:DTV) have their own increases planned for February. Those with locked-rates from promotions won’t be hit by the increase until the deal is over.

Here’s a breakdown for each company’s increases and the new features they’re trying to sell to customers.

Comcast

In response to the increases, Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) Spokesman Spero Canton said it came “mostly because of the impact of higher programming costs and increased operating expenses.” For Comcast’s 60 percent of customers not affected by the increases, they either have promotional deals or the costs for Comcast’s Digital Economy, MultiLatino services and premium channels such as HBO not changing, according to Canton.

Comcast has justified the increases by noting its improved products and technology from the addition of almost 100 new standard- and high-definition channels in 2011 and the increased download speeds of 105 megabytes per second in Southeast Florida, according to Sun Sentinel.

Customers now have more than 60,000 TV and movie entertainment choices from the company’s  Xfinity On Demand, XfinityTV.com and the Xfinity TV offerings. But the increase comes after a 2 percent rise in 2011. Consumers have complained about less channel offerings in Comcast’s basic offerings and according to Canton, all of Miami-Dade and Broward counties are digital. This enables customers to receive about 40 more channels at the same price.

AT&T U-verse

Over at AT&T (NYSE:T), many customers will have monthly increases of $2 to $5, depending on what package they have, according to AT&T spokeswoman Kelly Starling, with maximum increases for U-verse TV and Internet service going to $12. Starling said to Sun Sentinel, “We are making some modest price adjustments to our U-verse packages that reflect increased content and business costs.”

Also trying to justify the increases, Starling noted AT&T’s technology advances including 14 additional high-definition channels, 28 new channels with  international content and movie channels along with additional DVR, mobile and online options.

DIRECTV

DirectTV (NASDAQ:DTV) customers will see an increase on February 9, averaging 4 percent. The cost increases had been noted by the company on its website: “The programming costs we pay to owners of TV channels will increase by about 10 percent.”

The company has new prices listed on numerous packages, some of which are unavailable for new customers. Most packages will rise $3 to $5 every month while premium channel costs will remain the same.

DIRECTV (NASDAQ:DTV) Spokeswoman Jade Ekstedt said of the increases, “The new pricing reflects the increasing cost of programming and the significant investments we’ve made to enhance our customers’ viewing experience.”

Ekstedy added that new features that will include full-time, three-dimensional channels and more than 170 full-time high definition channels. According to DirectTV, this is highest number offered by a television provider.

DISH Network

Lucky for DISH (NASDAQ:DISH) customers, there will be no rate increases until early 2013 after the most recent February 2011 increases had packages upped by $5 per month.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Debbie Baratz at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com