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Charter’s “Merger Benefit” for 2018: Sweeping Rate Hikes for Ex-Time Warner, Bright House Customers

Phillip Dampier December 27, 2017 Charter Spectrum, Competition, Consumer News 7 Comments

Charter Communications cable TV customers will soon see sweeping rate increases on their cable bills as the cable company announces its 2018 “rate adjustments” that will begin to take effect as early as next month in some markets.

For many customers, it is the second substantial rate increase in a year. Among the most notable are a dramatic hike in equipment rental costs and surcharges.

As Charter Communications took control of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks and introduced Spectrum packages and pricing in 2016 and 2017, company spokesman Justin Venech promised that Spectrum packages were “a better value” for customers, in part because equipment rental fees were substantially lower. But the gap between what Time Warner Cable charged in early 2016 and what Spectrum customers will pay in 2018 is quickly narrowing.

In early 2017, a Spectrum set-top box was priced at $4.99 a month. In mid-2017, the company raised the price to $5.99 a month and starting next month, that rental price is increasing to $6.99 a month per box. Other equipment is getting more costly as well. Time Warner Cable introduced digital transport adapters (DTAs) for secondary analog television sets at $0.99 a month. In 2018, that equipment will cost $4.99 a month. DVR service also increases $1 to $12.99 a month.

Spectrum’s original bundled TV, phone and internet packages — Select, Silver, and Gold were priced at $109.94, $129.94, and $149 a month respectively in 2016, according to the Orange County Register. Los Angeles was among the first markets in the country to obtain new Spectrum packages and pricing in the fall of 2016. Just 15 months later, customers can now expect to pay rates starting at $139.99 for Select, $159.99 for Silver, and $179.99 for Gold.

The company’s hated Broadcast TV Surcharge, which applies to all promotional and regular-priced television packages is also being hiked from $7.50 a month to $8.85.

Among the first markets to see the 2018 rate hike is Lexington, Ky.,  which has had a year-long running battle with Charter Communications.

The mayor is not happy.

“I’m outraged,” Lexington Mayor Jim Gray told the Lexington Herald-Leader. “This is the second rate hike for Spectrum’s cable subscribers in a single year. And considering Spectrum’s record of poor customer service, it just confirms my decision to bring competition and more options to Lexington for cable TV services along with high-speed internet.”

Lexington residents will soon have a third option for cable service in addition to Spectrum, AT&T or CenturyLink: MetroNet — which promises to wire the city with fiber to the home service over the next 3-4 years.

Prices for internet and phone service are unchanged for now, but Charter has often announced rate hikes for those services later in the year, so do not expect rates to remain unchanged throughout 2018.

Spectrum 2018 Cable TV Rate Increases

  • Limited Basic TV service: Current price: $15 New Price: $20
  • Expanded Basic TV service: Current price: $54.99 New Price: $49.99
  • Spectrum Receiver: Current price: $5.99 New Price: $6.99
  • Broadcast TV Surcharge: Current price: $7.50 New Price: $8.85
  • DTA: Current price: $4.00 New Price: $4.99
  • Single DVR Service: Current price: $11.99 New Price: $12.99
  • Sports Pass: Current price: $10.00 New Price: $12.00
  • Movie Pass: Current price: $10.00 New Price: $12.00
  • Triple Play Select: Current price: $129.99 New Price: $139.99
  • Triple Play Silver: Current price: $149.99 New price: $159.99
  • Triple Play Gold: Current price: $169.99 New Price: $179.99

Currently there are 7 comments on this Article:

  1. Dana F says:

    Would people still on Time Warner plans see these price increases? my parents still havent switched.

    • Jose says:

      When your parent’s time warner package expire, they would be charged Time Warner’s retail prices. It is hard to say if these prices will have an effect because these companies are constantly changing their policies. I also haven’t switched to a Spectrum plan and I will not allow Spectrum to switch my plan over. They tried to talk me into it and I did not allow them to do so. My Time Warner Plan is cheaper than Spectrum’s.

      The best you can do is see what your parents are paying now vs. what they would be paying under Spectrum. I am sure your parent’s plan is in good shape 🙂 If your parents are on a promo, prices should stay the same until it expires.

    • Curious George says:

      The normal increases:

      If you are on the 1st year of the promo and it’s is ending yes it will go up $20, if your 2nd year is ending then you go to full price.

      The broadcast fee is going to 8.85 no matter what
      I’ve heard that the TWC hd boxes are going to be over $12 but not sure if that’s true

      The triple play packagers that are going up $10 are Time Warner cable packages:

      Good Triple Play Premium
      Better Triple Play Plus
      Triple Play Plus

      if the price increases are true then it would be like the price going up $30 after the 1st year promo.

      • Jose says:

        I believe there is some truth to the price of the cable box. Before my next door neighbors switched over to a Spectrum plan, they were paying about $12 a month for each one of the HD cable boxes. Even with their TV and Phone Packages, they pay $126 a month all in for Spectrum Silver Package + Latino View + Phone. That is only a promo rate.

  2. Anna says:

    I just had a damn rate hike in November. I cut the NFL red zone and BY COINCIDENCE – MY CABLE WENT UP BY 20.00 A MONTH – Go ahead – hike my sh*t again – Im leaving just as soon as Google fiber makes it way to my neighborhood. I pay for the ULTRA 300 and I can get anything higher than 30 in my house with it being out or having to reload every 10 minutes – Yep Im done –

    • Jose says:

      I can strongly relate to your frustration. My elderly neighbors were having issues with their Spectrum phone line always going down. It took about 6 visits from the technician just to get the problem solved. To be fair, their problem was intermittent but very annoying. Google Fiber offers way better service vs Time Warner who use so many under qualified contractors to service the lines.

  3. MrFool says:

    In Rochester, the January 30 conversion to all digital means that QAM compatible tv sets will no longer work either. Welcome to a very much default rate hike of $6.99 per tv. I am not sure that Rochester customers really get the significance of this. So far my experience with the internet app in my home has been putrid. Shows stop, stutter etc from my phone or a pc. Wifi is 5.8 ghz and signal is 4 bars so it’s not my signal in the house.

    I’m finally looking at alternatives since I said when they did this it was probably time to drop the cable portion of my Spectrum bill.

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  • Dylan: Look at their prices. Absolutely ludicrous compared to many companies, especially Charter Spectrum. I pay $60 a month for 100/10 with unlimited data. ...
  • Paul Houle: For a long time communities have been frustrated in that they don't have any power to negotiate with cable companies. This town refused to enter into...
  • Ian S Littman: To be fair, you aren't wrong. Spectrum likely knows it won't have any competition for years in Lamar, so they'll quickly get take rates of >70% (re...
  • Ian S Littman: Are you in an area that can even get Spectrum service? Because in areas where they actually have to compete, they're actually pretty decent now. Yes,...
  • Ian S Littman: A more odd entry in that list is Chattanooga. The entire area has FTTH via EPB. Yet apparently folks can't swing the $57/mo starting price for 100 Mbp...
  • Ian S Littman: The issue here is that the NY PSC's threats have no teeth because, well, who will take over the cable systems if Spectrum is forced to sell? Either Al...
  • Bill Callahan: Phil, National Digital Inclusion Alliance just published interactive Census tract maps for the entire US based on the same ACS data. Two datapoints a...
  • Carl Moore: The idiots that run the cable companies must be also using drugs...a lot of people are cutting their cable services because of the higher rate and inc...
  • EJ: This will require a New Deal approach. Municipals need the ability to either be granted money or loaned money for broadband expansion. Until this is d...
  • Bob: I also got $1 increase for my 100/10 internet from Spectrum. A rep said it's for the speed increase that's coming in 2019. I complained that I was pro...
  • EJ: It makes sense to focus on wireless considering the government contract they have. The strange thing is they referenced fixed wireless in this article...
  • nick: Interesting how they conveniently leave out (Spectrum TV Choice) streaming service which is also $30/mo ($25/mo for the first 2 years)....

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