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Comcast set to raise fees again in January by 21 percent

By Cal Jeffrey · 12 replies
Dec 12, 2018
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  1. At least 89 percent of the US is within range of their local network affiliates, yet Comcast subscribers are not allowed to opt out of local stations on their subscriptions. Local programming is “included free” in the lowest tier of its packaging scheme.

    However, it is far from free. Not only are you paying for Tier One which includes other channels that you probably don’t even watch, but there is a fee you can find on your bill each month called “Broadcast TV Fee.” This charge is for those channels that you would otherwise be getting for free. Yes, you are paying Comcast twice for those networks.

    What’s worse is Comcast has drastically raised this fee in the last four years by about 530 percent. Back in 2014, the charge was right around $1.50. As you can see in the image of my bill below, I’m now paying $8.00 for ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and PBS. It's worth mentioning that I don’t have the cable hooked up in my bedroom and all these stations come in crystal clear without even having an external antenna hooked up.

    Ars Technica reports that the Broadcast TV fee will be going up again starting January 1, 2019, to $10. Additionally, the Regional Sports fee will be bumped to $8.25, and the Internet/Voice Equipment Rental (a.k.a. modem) will go up to $13.

    Fee hikes are nothing new for Comcast, which has a history of hiding, lying, and jacking up "other charges." They already raised these fees a couple of bucks each just last year. In total, the fees will be increasing from about $28 to $32, a 21-percent hike.

    Comcast claims these fees are governmental charges, but a 2016 class action lawsuit against the company begs to differ. The suit claimed that Comcast was defrauding customers with its “bogus” hidden fees.

    “Comcast commits billing fraud by subtracting the invented fees from the top-line service price in its bills and instead hiding and disguising the charges elsewhere in the bill,” claimed the filing. “To any customers who question Comcast about the bogus charges, Comcast staff and agents explicitly lie by stating that the Broadcast TV Fee and the Regional Sports Fee are government-related fees or taxes over which Comcast has no control.”

    That same year the state of Washington sued the cable giant for $100 million in a consumer protection lawsuit. In that case, the company was charging customers $5 per month for a service plan to cover repairs but did not disclose the service plan did not include wiring inside of walls. The attorney general also found that in 75 percent of the repair cases, Comcast representatives lied to customers saying that all inside wiring was covered.

    Last year, Comcast ranked the fourth lowest out of 350 companies for customer satisfaction by JD Power. Is it any wonder why more and more people are cutting the cord?

    Permalink to story.

  2. OutlawCecil

    OutlawCecil TS Guru Posts: 679   +495

    They changed my recent Comcast paper bills so they don't mention specific fees. They've bundled all fees together and it simply says something generic like "Other fees". Cable companies are the very definition of a monopoly and now with Net Neutrality gone, they get a free pass to do what they want and charge what they want. #sad
    Evernessince, Reehahs and psycros like this.
  3. Dieseltech80

    Dieseltech80 TS Rookie

    We as "Comcast customers" aka cash cows, are paying way to much for mediocre service from the "#1 cable provider" in the nation. Half the time the internet is down and does not want to work, and we get no credit on our bills for it. We pay brodcast and regional sports fees for what.....to line the pockets of big wig stakeholders. I think its high time for another class action lawsuit to cap the comcast bills and put an end to BS fees once and for all
    psycros likes this.
  4. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 4,000   +2,295

    I am a staunch NN supporter, however, this has really nothing to do with NN. This is all about cable TV subscriptions and what cable TV providers like Comcrap are allowed to get away with.

    Not only that, but it was not all that long ago that there was an article that said that there is a relatively large number of people out there that are totally unaware that TV is available with an antenna for free over-the-air. Believe it or not, the number was something like 40-percent of all the adults in the US. When I was born, there was no such thing as cable TV. The only way to get TV was with an antenna OTA.

    I cut my satellite cord several years ago, and now I get my local stations over-the-air with an antenna. Not only that, but the current Dish Nutwork local channel offering does not offer any of the sub-channels or low-power stations that are available OTA in my area. So Dish Nutwork offers a grand total of five local channels, and there are approximately 36-channels that I can get OTA with my antenna.

    The only way that Comcrap and other subscription TV providers are going to get the message is if more people cut the cord.
    Satish Mallya likes this.
  5. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,718   +2,517

    YES, I really miss the sub-channels I could receive where I lived previously, which was way out in the sticks. Now I live in town and receive none of those good channels.
  6. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 4,000   +2,295

    My guess is that you are in one of those "dead zones" that plague ATSC 1.0. I am, too. It took an antenna in my attic and an amplifier from Kitztech http://kitztech.com/ for me to reliably get OTA TV. I am only about 5-miles from the main transmitters, but since I am in a valley, there is a significant amount of reflected signals. Reflected signals are the complete bane of ATSC 1.0.

    IF ATSC 3.0 is ever rolled out, I expect that there will be something on the order of 100 OTA channels that I will be able to receive in my area. I am keeping my fingers crossed.
  7. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 4,008   +3,503

    That's what happens when you repeal NN, which required ISPs to have transparent billing.

    Actually it does have to do with NN. Title II requires any provider under the provision to clearly bill the customer including fees and other charges, among many other transparency requirements of Title II. The only reason they were listing those fees in the first place separately and clearly was because they were legally required to.

    Those restrictions are gone though, so expect these companies to come up with more ways to overcharge customers.
    OutlawCecil likes this.
  8. Bluescreendeath

    Bluescreendeath TS Maniac Posts: 139   +216

    Comcast was already doing whatever they wanted and charging what they wanted even with Net Neutrality in place.
    wiyosaya and Lionvibez like this.
  9. rrwards

    rrwards TS Enthusiast Posts: 39   +66

    For what it's worth, in certain areas you still may be better off streaming your TV. My pops uses Youtube TV with comcast internet and gets all the local channels, some general entertainment channels, plus sports specifics like ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, and Fox Sports Regional for $40 a month. Add the $40 a month from comcast and it's still cheaper than their 150+ channels and internet.
  10. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,400   +3,793

    With the number of options out there for streaming there is no excuse for Comcast to be trying to pull such a maneuver. This is the kind of "meat" that our FCC should be directly addressing but just can't seem to find time to. Over charging that is so obvious should be directly addressed with the legal backup to force Comcast to refund (in cash, not credits) every dollar they have taken through deception ......
  11. netman

    netman TS Addict Posts: 322   +102

    I quit Comcast 10 years ago...Never went back and never will...They are thief!
  12. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 4,000   +2,295

    If this article was about cable ISPs, I would agree. However, it is not. It is about cable TV providers. Its completely different. If I am wrong, please provide a link to the relevant information.
  13. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 4,008   +3,503

    This article is about Comcast, which is both a cable provider and ISP. Unless you are going to argue that comcast was billing their cable customers and internet customers differently (which is impossible in many cases as often people are a subscriber to both) NN regulations most certainly had an impact here.

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