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December 22, 2017

Comcast hikes cable costs and fees again

Business Cable
Comcast Center Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

The Comcast Center in Center City.

It's that time of year again, Comcast customers. And no, we're not talking about the holidays.

The Philadelphia-based cable giant has once again hiked cable and some internet costs, as well as a number of its monthly fees.

The changes began to take effect on Dec. 20, Comcast spokeswoman Jennifer Bilotta told PhillyVoice.

Some of the more noticeable changes include hikes to its controversial monthly broadcast TV and regional sports network fees, both of which were just $1.50 when they were introduced a few years back. The broadcast TV fee will increase from $6 to $6.50 or $6.75 per month, depending on where customers live, while the regional sports network fee rises from $5 to $6.75 per month, Bilotta said.

TV services and packages are also set to increase, with monthly hikes ranging from $1 to $5, according to DSLReports. The site also noted that the monthly charge for renting a modem will also increase from $10 to $11.

The company started notifying customers of the hike a month or two ago, Bilotta said. The changes took effect on Dec. 20 for subscribers in the greater Philadelphia area and New Jersey.

Bilotta tied the rate increases to rising programming costs and other expenses.

“We continue to make significant investments in our network and technologies to give customers more for their money – like faster Internet service and better WiFi, more video across viewing screens, innovations like X1 and a better customer experience," Comcast said in a statement. "However, the costs we are charged to carry popular networks continue to increase significantly, and we must pass along a portion of these higher costs to our customers.”

That said, some customers are still likely to cry foul at the annual move. Although the increase had been planned well in advance, it takes effect in the Philly area as Republican members of Congress and President Donald Trump pushed through a party-line tax bill set to slash the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent.

Comcast cited the landmark bill's passage when it announced $1,000 holiday bonuses for roughly 100,000 frontline and non-executive workers on Wednesday.

Prices will increase by an average of 2.2 percent nationally, Bilotta said.

The increases are not nearly as steep as they were this time last year, when the company hiked prices by an average of 3.8 percent nationally. Prices also soared 4 percent on average in 2015.

Comcast isn't the only TV and internet provider hiking prices around the holiday season. AT&T's DirecTV, Dish Network, Charter Communications and Cox Communications have all announced similar changes.