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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 Spectrum, 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.”

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

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