** UPDATE: 3:44 p.m.** Time Warner Cable answers more questions on the price hike. The price hike affects all O.C. customers and beyond. See below in bold **
Happy holidays … your cable bill is going up.
Sincerely, Time Warner Cable
An across-the-board price hike is the big gift that Time Warner Cable sent to Orange County and Los Angeles customers in the past week. My notice arrived in the mail just in time for Christmas.
Time Warner plans to raise prices between $1 to $5 per month. I’m in Huntington Beach so I haven’t verified whether all O.C. customers will see the same hike. I have a call in to find out more details and I’ll post the update as soon as I get it. ** Yes, this affects all customers in O.C., Los Angeles and beyond. SEE UPDATE BELOW**
Customers with a bundled package will see a $3 to $5 monthly increase beginning in 2009. The ‘All the Best‘ package, for example, will increase $5 to $119.95 per month, compared to the current $114.95. That’s a 4.3 percent increase.
But it’s the lower-priced services that will get hit the most.
RoadRunner ’Lite’ customers get a $2 increase to $26.95, equivalent to an 8 percent increase.
For broadcast users — that includes just the basic TV channels like CBS, ABC and NBC — the monthly bill will jump 21percent a month to $17 a month, up from $14.
CableCARD users will pay an extra $1 per month, which brings the monthly total to $2.75. That’s an increase of 57.1 percent.
And if you’re one of those customers who need hand-holding with the various services, it’ll cost you more too. Agent assistance with payments or pay-per-view shows will cost $2.99 each, up $1 or a 50.3 percent increase. And brand new: An “Addressable change of service fee” will cost $2.99.
One decrease: The digital programming fee for a customer’s additional receivers will drop 20 percent, to $2, from $2.50.
And keep in mind, since equipment fees and other per-item charges are going up, a customer’s January cable bill could be higher than $5. For example, if you have ‘digital extreme’ package, RoadRunner Internet service and three TVs (with three digital cable boxes), that adds up to an additional extra $11 per month.
I highlighted the biggest percentage jumps. To view all the price hikes, click THIS LINK or the image on right for a larger view.
**UPDATE, 3:45 p.m.** Darryl Ryan, Time Warner’s very responsive media guy offered to explain the charges a bit further:
“Due to increased operating costs, including programming fees, product upgrades and network maintenance, there will be a rate adjustment for our video service.”
He points out that in the past year, Time Warner has added more channels – including 10 high-definition networks (up to 45 in certain cities). More channels are coming, he promised. Also, he added, package deals, such as its Triple Play (phone, Internet, TV) are cheaper overall and saves the customer $40/month. The ‘Double Play’ (two of the three services) saves $10 to $13/month.
Prices won’t impact customers who are currently on a promotion. For example, if you signed up last month for the TV/phone bundle and got a special rate for 12 months, your monthly fee won’t increase until after that promotion ends.
“These rate adjustments will not have the same impact on every customer. While some customers might notice a rate change, customers who subscribe to Internet, phone and TV services from multiple providers can actually save money by signing up for any of our competitively priced bundled packages,” Ryan said.
The price hike affects customers here and beyond the Southern California, although rates may differ by city, he said.
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