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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.”

[flv width=”480″ height=”380″]http://www.phillipdampier.com/video/WSPA Spartanburg Charter Surcharge 10-5-10.flv[/flv]

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

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  • Paul Houle: WatchTV legitimizes the idea of unbundling local channels from cable channels and it is about time. For many consumers, retransmission is a waste, ...
  • Paul Houle: I can believe in AT&T's plan, but not Comcast. For better or worse, AT&T is going "all in" on video and is unlike other major providers in ...
  • Phillip Dampier: Yes, that battle with Northwest Broadcasting, which also involved stations in Idaho-Wyoming and California, was the nastiest in recent history, with s...
  • Doug Stoffa: Digital takes up way less space than old analog feeds - agreed. In a given 6 MHz block, the cable company can send down 1 NTSC analog station, 2-4 HD...
  • Phillip Dampier: Digital video TV channels occupy next to nothing as far as bandwidth goes. Just look at the huge number of premium international channels loading up o...
  • Doug Stoffa: It's a bit more complicated than that. Television stations (and the networks that provide them programming) have increased their retransmission fees ...
  • Alex sandro: Most of the companies offer their services with contracts but Spectrum cable company offer contract free offers for initial year which is a very good ...
  • John: I live in of the effected counties, believe it or not our village is twenty three miles from WSKG Tower, approxiamately eighty miles from Syracuse, WS...
  • Wilhelm: I'm in the Finger Lakes where Spectrum removed WROC-8 last Fall, but we still get other Rochester channels, WHAM-13, WHEC-10 and WXXI-21. I have to wo...
  • dhkjsalhf: "Another classic case of businesses being much smarter than governments." I don't know whether this was sarcastic or not, but I feel it's a sentiment...
  • New Yorker: It makes no sense. I wonder sometimes if raising the limits on how much money rich people giving to candidates could make it more expensive to buy of...
  • New Yorker: Will New York go through with the threat? As an upstater I have seen infrastructure projects drag on in cost and time (eg. 1.5 yrs to repair a tiny b...

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