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Charter Customers Revolt: $25 for Broadcast Basic Cable That Costs Cable $1 in Programming Fees

Phillip Dampier October 12, 2010 Charter, Competition, Consumer News, Video No Comments

Charter Cable customers are upset over new surcharges of a dollar or more on their monthly cable bills to pay for broadcast/over-the-air stations they can receive for free.  Even worse, Charter already charges its basic customers in areas like upstate South Carolina up to $25 a month for basic cable, which includes local channels and a handful of cable networks.

Now customers like Cathy Bader want to know why Charter needs a dollar surcharge on a $25 cable package when it only costs Charter a dollar for the local channels she wants to watch.

Those in other parts of the state pay as low as one-third that price for the same local channels.

“If you’re only paying $1.12 to rebroadcast the same channels that you can get with an antenna or on basic elsewhere [in the state] for $14 dollars, well, why don’t [they] take it down to $14 for basic cable,” Bader asked Diane Lee, a consumer reporter for WSPA-TV in Spartanburg.  “Why gouge the customers when you are the only game in town for most of us.”

Now that Bader has learned the exorbitant markup rate on basic, she wants to know how much Charter pays to re-transmit other channels, too.  She’s certain it is much less than the $111 she pays every month for cable service.

Time Warner Cable, in comparison, charges between $8-13 per month for the same broadcast networks in other parts of the state.  A good antenna will cut that bill to zero.

Charter Cable handed the TV station a written response:

“The pricing for our basic level of service incorporates the overall operating costs of providing video services to our customers.  Charter’s price for basic service in the upstate area is comparable to prices charged by certain other video providers, including basic cable service in the Atlanta area, which is approximately $23 a month.”

http://www.phillipdampier.com/video/WSPA Spartanburg Charter Surcharge 10-5-10.flv

WSPA-TV in Spartanburg ran this report about Charter’s high basic cable rates.  (2 minutes)

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  • Jason: I am curious if the 50Mbps speed as the fastest they ever achieved if that was wired or wireless? What environment are they in? An apartment or a sing...
  • Angel: it should read "I’m NOW paying 4$ less than the original promo I bought last year". and you actually have to get to the cancellation department, the p...
  • fit body: Excellent blog you've got here.. It's hard to find excellent writing like yours nowadays. I honestly appreciate people like you! Take care!! My ...
  • Angel: It helps if you call back a few times, talking to different people yields different results. I had to talk to 3 different people before I finally land...
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  • tacitus: The problem is that it works. It's the same psychology that lets people buy a second candy bar they don't need because they can get it at half-price, ...
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  • John: Just tried this out, I have U450 and 24mps internet. My bill just jumped from $140 to $220, called and tried this, he originally told me that could dr...
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  • Rod: But it's not a better value proposition if you simply don't want cable tv or landline. What's the value in paying an extra $25 dollars a month for so...
  • Matt Larsen: For $1500 and the cost of plane tickets to Seattle, I will get this guy service at his house so he doesn't have to sell it. A WISP will find a way t...

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